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TARGET INSIDE! Take Your Best Shot & WIN! Details Inside!


REIGN Aimee Williams Takes On Rimfire & Steel Challenges

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History Of The

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Steven Paul Barlow, Larry Case, Scott Haugen, Phil Massaro, Mike Nesbitt, Rob Reed, Bob Shell, Oleg Volk. SALES MANAGER

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Hard work and a singular focus have made Aimee Williams a rising star on the Steel and Rimfire Challenge circuits, and her upbeat personality and positive energy have made her a favorite with sponsors and fellow competitors alike. (OLEG VOLK)

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VOLUME 6 • ISSUE 9 • june 2017


HAMMERING TARGETS The new Springfield Armory XDe 9mm combines a traditional trigger system with a polymer frame to offer a pistol that melds old and new. Rob Reed tested the new pistol at an invitation-only writer’s event and on his local range, and he gladly passes along all the details.


THE PAST IS PRESENT Think a trip to the museum means old paintings and ancient bones? Think again. Leave your traumatic childhood field trip experiences behind, and open your mind to the world of living firearms history. Brad Fitzpatrick shares the highlights of several unique and impressive collections spread across the country.


ROAD HUNTER: “Summertime…and the hunting is easy.” Well, not exactly easy, but Scott Haugen knows that there are far more opportunities than you’d think. The traditional ‘off-season’ can still provide hunters with a wide variety of excellent game and location options.


BEHIND THE BADGE: SKILLED VIGILENCE At a dedicated 1,100-acre facility in central New York, the state’s Division of Homeland Security trains thousands of first responders to be prepared for any emergency, whether it is in the city, the suburbs or rural areas. Steven Paul Barlow takes us behind the scenes.

125 CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT Aimee Williams works hard every day to become a better shooter and competitor, so she deserves an occasional rest. (OLEG VOLK)

Five years ago, Aimee Williams began to look for a hobby that would keep her busy as the dreaded “empty nest” years loomed on the horizon. Today, she finds herself high on the leaderboards of many Steel and Rimfire Challenge events. Oleg Volk helps us to learn more about the popular competitor.

The Mossberg 930 Pro Series Sporting joins an already successful line of autoloading target shotguns from the popular manufacturer. Writer and erstwhile shotgun savant Larry Case put the gun through its paces, and recruited a few other shooters to do the same.

AMERICAN SHOOTING JOURNAL is published monthly by Media Index Publishing Group, 14240 Interurban Ave South Suite 190, Tukwila, WA 98168. Display Advertising. Call Media Index Publishing Group for a current rate card. Discounts for frequency advertising. All submitted materials become the property of Media Index Publishing Group and will not be returned. Copyright © 2017 Media Index Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express written permission of the publisher. Printed in U.S.A.


American Shooting Journal // June 2017 13

CONTENTS Also Inside 137 Black Powder: The .44-90 Sharps cartridge 147 Reloading: Hodgdon’s Enduron Powders, Part II 159 Company Spotlight: Lantac 165 Company Spotlight: Guntec 167 Company Spotlight: Huber Concepts 171 Company Spotlight: Dead Foot Arms


AUTOMATIC STARDOM Soldiers of the Air Service Command learn how to fire the M1A1 Thompson at Daniel, Field, Georgia, during WWII. (U.S. ARMY)

DEPARTMENTS 17 19 21 23 26


Editor’s Note Competition Calendar Gun Show Calendar Top Shots Industry News: G.I. Joe through the years, The Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match

American Shooting Journal // June 2017

When General John T. Thompson set out to design a useful trench-fighting weapon for U.S. soldiers in WWI, he had no idea how popular his creation would become. But from G.I.s to gangsters, G-Men and beyond, the Tommy Gun continues to make history. 15


American Americ Ame rican ric an Sho Shooti Shooting oting ng g Jou Journa Journal rnall // J June une 20 2017 17



y all accounts, the 146th NRA Annual Meetings in Atlanta, Georgia, enjoyed one of the largest attendance tallies ever, with 81,000plus organization members and more than 800 exhibitors filling just about every available space at the Georgia World Congress Center. As always, the training and education-focused arm of the NRA wasn’t stingy with their seminar and workshop schedules. In fact, there were so many options available that an attendee could choose to spend their entire four days in meeting rooms without ever making it to the showroom floor, but who would be crazy enough to miss out on all of the new products and services on display? One attendee who was seen

anxiously waiting for the doors to open onto the vast exhibit space summed up his sole reason for doing so with a huge smile: “Nine acres of guns.” For those who could tear themselves away from the seminars and products, several special events commanded attention as well, not the least of which was the Friday keynote appearance of President Donald Trump, who became the first sitting Chief Executive to speak to the assembled NRA faithful since Ronald Reagan. Speaking of elected officials, NRA members filled out ballots in advance of the meetings to vote for new and current NRA Board Members, who are each elected to serve three-year terms. Name recognition was certainly not

a hindrance in this election, as this year’s top vote getter was actor Tom Selleck, and R. Lee “Gunny” Ermey finished third in the balloting. And speaking of actors (and that includes the Reagan mention above)…I’m not usually one to use this space to tout or tease future issues or articles, but the summer movie blockbuster season has me a bit more excited than usual. With that as a solid hint, our July issue will feature an exclusive interview with a lead actor in one of the season’s top hits, who is also no stranger to this magazine (Hint No. 2…we interviewed him back when we were known as the Western Shooting Journal). I’ll leave it at that, but I’ll see you here bright and early next month! -Craig Hodgkins 17

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Aimee Williams works in some rifle practice in preparation for an upcoming competition. To read more about Aimee, turn to page 105. (OLEG VOLK)

June 10-11

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June 17-18

June 24-25

GLOCK Fire on the Mountain III Johnstown, Pa.

Beaver State Ballistic Challenge XXIV Dundee, Ore.

Garden State Regional Classic XXIII Jackson, N.J.

Joe Ocken Montana GLOCK Classic XII Missoula, Mont.

June 15-18

June 16-18

June 22-24

June 23-25

Arkansas Section Championship Barling, Ark.

2017 Mile High Showdown Ramah, Colo.

2017 Mississippi Production State Championship Biloxi, Miss.

2017 Rudy Project Mid-Atlantic Sectional New Tripoli, Pa.

June 10

June 16-18

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2017 Central New Mexico Scorcher – Tier 3 Rio Rancho, N.M.

Vengeance in the Valley – Tier 2 Orefield, Pa.

2017 Snake River Regional Championship – Tier 2 Idaho Falls, Idaho

June 3-4

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Shootout at the Lazy E Guthrie, Okla.

Mid-West Regional Championship Jackson, Ohio

June 7-10 Central U.S. Championship Guthrie, Okla.

June 17-18 Missouri State Championship Mount Vernon, Mo.

June 17-18 Iowa State Championship Iowa Falls, Iowa

June 17-18 Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match Forsyth, Mont. 19

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GUNSHOW C A L E N D A R Skinner “Express” sight for a Ruger 10/22. (SKINNER SIGHTS)

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TOP SHOOTERS Victoria Landrum successfully bagged her turkey this past April, hunting out of Northeast Washington’s gobbler capital, Colville, with her dad, Lee, here taking a photo of his daughter. (LEE LANDRUM)

Jerry Mayo taking a break while enjoying his first-ever black powder silhouette match in Eatonville, Washington. (MIKE NESBITT)

Here, 3-year-old Nyah Jardim, applies some elbow grease and plenty of personality after volunteering to help her father, writer Frank Jardim, clean a new lubeless Anderson AR-15 he had on hand for a test and evaluation article. Her request was a simple, “Try? Try?” What self-respecting father could resist that face? (FRANK JARDIM) Our own reloading columnist Bob Shell has been getting in plenty of testing time using Hodgdon’s new Enduron powders. Here he tries out a load he worked up for his Mauser in 8 X 57. Read more in this issue and in next month’s, too. (BOB SHELL) 23



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In 1963, Hasbro launched a boy-friendly toy line that created a completely new product category STORY BY CRAIG HODGKINS


hen toy licensing and marketing pioneer Stanley Weston passed away last month in Los Angeles at the age of 84, he was remembered in the media for several career accomplishments (he was, for example, in the first group to be inducted into the Licensing Industry Hall of Fame), but his name will always be linked to his creation of a toy that quickly became a franchise for the Hasbro company, one that dominated toy store shelves in the 1960s and again in the 1980s: G.I. Joe. As a young man in the burgeoning toy-licensing field, Weston had seen the success of Mattel’s Barbie product line of dolls for young girls, and imagined that a toy line for boys could work if the right character and story

formula could be developed. After spending hours reading up on various branches of the military and visiting an Army-Navy store, he created a concept model and made a pitch to Don Levine, who worked for the company that would soon become Hasbro. Levine, a military veteran, bought the idea on the spot and named the toy “G.I. Joe.” In 1963, the company launched the line with four 12-inch military figures: a soldier, a marine, a sailor and a pilot. THE PRODUCT INTRODUCTION LITERALLY created the action figure toy category, and within a few years, sales of the rapidly expanding line accounted for more than 60 percent of Hasbro’s yearly sales. Interest waned in the midseventies, but the success of the Star Wars franchise toys reinvigorated the


action figure market, and in 1982 Hasbro re-launched the G.I. Joe line with 3.75inch figures, comic books, and a Saturday morning television cartoon. By then, the Joes had switched from the standard military branches to become an elite unit fighting against an evil worldwide organization known as Cobra. In 2009 and 2013, G.I. Joe also appeared on the big screen, the latter movie featuring Bruce Willis in the lead role. A collectible version of the licensed figurine (a 2013 Toy Fair exclusive) was created in the original 12-inch height, bringing the G.I. Joe line full circle. Enjoy the accompanying photo gallery of G.I. Joe through the years. 


For more than a quarter of a decade, black powder shooters have gathered in the Montana plains for some ‘big do’ins’ COMPILED BY THE EDITORS. PHOTOS BY MIKE NESBITT


n June 17-18, black powder shooters of all ages and experience levels will descend upon the Forsyth Rifle and Pistol Club in Forsyth, Montana, for what is billed as “the biggest rifle-shooting event in Eastern Montana since the Custer Massacre.” And if that marketing line doesn’t clue you in to the tongue-incheek nature of the folks who host the annual Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match – now in its 26th year – you’re not really paying attention. But despite the humorous 28

American Shooting Journal // June 2017

overtones, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the hosts and competitors don’t take this event seriously. The attendance at the 2016 Quigley 2016 set new attendance records, with nearly 700 shooters from 37 states and four other countries competed for a piece of the prize pie in a variety of rifle, age and gender categories. Winners receive a plaque in the shape of Montana that has been autographed by actor Tom Selleck, who portrayed Matthew Quigley in the 1990 film Quigley Down Under, which inspired the

Actor Tom Selleck’s role as Matthew Quigley on the big screen inspired the current namesake rifle match, now in its 26th year. (PATHE ENTERTAINMENT)

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Even the arrangement of the competitor’s RVs create the appearance of an old time encampment. (MIKE NESBITT)

The 2015 overall winner was Wes Daems of Ennis, Montana, who earned a score of 44 out of a possible 48. (MIKE NESBITT)

event in the first place. THE EVENT WAS FIRST HELD in 1991, and since then, only four shooters have repeated as winners (Mark Sackett has won the event four times). According to event’s website, “last year’s champion was Bill Clendenen of Spearfish, South Dakota, with 42 hits of 48 possible. Second place overall went to perennial ‘Crazy Cora’, Linda Clendenen of Amidon, North Dakota, who shot right next to Bill for the match. She was only one shot behind the lead with 41 hits. Tied with Linda for total score but with one less hit on the off-hand target was local shooter Glen Kapitzke of Miles City, Montana. He was third place overall and won the White Buffalo trophy as best man 72 years and older.” For more information on the Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match, visit You can download a flyer containing all of the information and regulations pertaining to the event there.  30

American Shooting Journal // June 2017




American Shooting Journal // January 2017

gun review

HAMMERING TARGETS The Springfield Armory XDe 9mm combines a traditional trigger system with a polymer frame to offer a pistol that successfully melds old and new STORY AND PHOTOS BY ROB REED


hile Springfield’s new XDe is branded as an extension of the popular XD line, it shares little with its erstwhile stablemates except for the use of a polymer frame. The previous XD pistols are striker-fired handguns, and with the XDe, the “e” stands for “external,” as-in external hammer. This hammer is mated with a traditional double-action/singleaction trigger system. The XDe also omits the grip safety found in the other XD pistols in favor of a framemounted, three-position, safety/ decock lever. THE INTRODUCTION OF A TRADITIONAL double-action pistol may seem odd in this age of striker-fired handguns, but the idea is to offer an alternative to shooters who aren’t comfortable carrying striker-fired pistols with relatively short and light trigger pulls. The long and deliberate first double-action pull is seen as a feature, not a bug, in this paradigm. Another stated desire was to make a pistol that is easier to rack than comparable pistols. A hammer-fired design makes this easier from an engineering standpoint. In their marketing, Springfield Armory claims their Low Effort Slide (L.E.S.) requires “27 percent less racking effort” than comparable pistols. Size wise, the XDe is comparable to the Glock 43 or S&W Shield in the category of “mid-size, single-stack

9mm’s.” These are the guns that are too large to carry in a pocket but are still lighter and smaller than doublestack 9mm pistols. The XDe is 6.75 inches long with a 3.3-inch barrel. The sight radius is 5.4 inches. The gun stands 5 inches high (with the 8-round magazine) and 1 inch wide. The extended 9-round magazine brings the height up to 6 inches. With an empty 8-round magazine inserted, my sample XDe weighed 24.9 ounces on my digital postal scale. The frame has a short integral accessory rail. The dust cover and slide nose give the gun a squared off, “blocky” appearance. There are six wide serrations for gripping on the rear of each side of the slide. The low profile rear sight sports two white dots mounted in a serrated face to reduce glare. The front sight is a red fiber optic. Both the front and rear sights are dovetailed in to allow for easy adjustment or replacement. (I believe the dovetails are the same as on the XDs). The undercut trigger guard and frame beavertail allow for a high hand grip. The frame’s “Grip Zone” textured areas help mate the hand to the gun.

Springfield’s new XDe uses an external hammer mated with a traditional double-action/ single-action trigger system.

The slide, barrel and metal internals are all Melonite coated. The barrel hood locks into the ejection port in the common fashion. The dual recoil spring system is captive and is easy to remove and replace. The pistol comes with an 8-round magazine with a flush-fit baseplate, an extra “pinky rest” baseplate, and an extended 9 round magazine. The mag bodies are metal with plastic floorplates and followers. and the mags have witness holes on each side. I was told the XDe mags are the same as the XD’s mags, with the exception that a magazine with the “pinky rest” installed would not fit in the XDs. 35

gun review

The undercut trigger guard and frame beavertail allow for a high hand grip.

SPECIFICATIONS: SPRINGFIELD XDE The XDe shown with the hammer fully down.

The magazine release button and framemounted safety are present on both sides of the gun, but the takedown lever and slide stop/ slide release are only on the left side of the frame.

THE CONTROLS ARE CONVENTIONAL. There is a magazine release button in the traditional spot behind the trigger on both the left and right sides of the pistol. The frame-mounted safety is also present on both sides of the gun. The take-down lever and slide stop/ slide release are only on the left side of the frame. The trigger is metal with a smooth face. I measured the double-action trigger with a Lyman digital trigger gauge five times. On the third try the trigger registered at about 11½ pounds. On the other attempts, the trigger went over the 12-pound maximum of the gauge. The singleaction pull averaged at just about 5¼ 36

American Shooting Journal // June 2017

Caliber: 9mm Capacity: 8-9 rounds (depending on magazine) Length: 6.75 inches Height: 5 to 6 inches (depending on magazine) Weight: 23 ounces w/o magazine Barrel: 3.3 inches/1 in 10 twist Trigger: Double action/single action Sights: Fiber optic front/low profile combat rear Frame: Black polymer, thumb safety w/ integrated decock Slide: Forged steel, Melonite finish

pounds over five measurements. The double-action pull has considerable stacking with the majority of the effort at the end of the roughly 1 inch trigger stroke. The single-action pull is shorter with considerable take up before hitting the resistance. The trigger reset is easily felt and heard. The XDe gives the shooter several options: They can carry the pistol in double-action mode, with or without the safety engaged, or carry in “cocked and locked” single-action mode. On the three-position safety the furthermost down position is “decock.” The middle position is “fire” and the uppermost position is “safe.” The safety can be applied with

From the rear of the backstrap, you can easily see the low profile combat rear sight.

the pistol cocked or uncocked. The safety does not lock the slide so the pistol can be loaded or unloaded with the safety engaged. A painted red dot on the slide is covered when the pistol is on “safe” and is visible when the pistol can be fired. I FIRST TESTED THE XDE at a Springfield Armory event in April, where a group of writers and industry pros spent the day firing about a dozen pistols from the first production run. We did simulated defensive scenarios, informal competitions and general plinking. My initial impression is that, for a small gun, the XDe shoots like a 37

gun review larger gun. I was able to get a full firing grip with both the “pinky rest” mag and the flush-fit mag. I also never pinched my hand in the magwell when reloading. We ran the gun in all three modes: DA with the safety engaged, DA with no safety, and SA with the safety. I preferred running the gun double-action without the safety. In my view, the long and relatively heavy DA pull negated the need for the safety. When firing “cocked and locked,” the safety did not fall under my thumb as well as a 1911 safety, but was still useable. I never accidently decocked the pistol while disengaging the safety. In fact, I found I had to reposition my hand slightly to use the decocker. Personally, I think a decocker-only variant would be a logical next step, or even a doubleaction-only variant if the trigger was lighter with less stacking.


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

The XDe is compact enough to easily fit in a vehicle’s glove box. With its manual safety and double-action first shot trigger, the XDe is designed to be safe while also being ready. 39

gun review In his personal tests, the author’s best Remington Golden Saber group fired single-action was 2 ¾ inches.

The XDe pistols at the writer’s event were very reliable. I never saw or heard of a malfunction with the FMJ ammo used. We fired the guns


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

The Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P produced the best group at 2 inches at 20 yards, with all shots fired single-action.

from awkward angles, sometimes one-handed, and on the move. Near the end of the day, I worked on a plate rack with my support hand

only, partially to see if I could master the trigger with my support hand and partially to see if I could induce any malfunctions. I had no issues

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gun review and, after a few practice mags, I was able to clean the rack, 8 for 8 (with a reset), support hand only. Then, I wisely quit while I was ahead. A FEW WEEKS AFTER THE EVENT, I received a T&E gun from Springfield Armory and headed to the range for some accuracy testing. The two 9mm defensive loads I had on hand were Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P and Remington Golden Saber 124 gr +P. The accuracy testing was at 20 yards, benched, with a soft bag under my hands. I fired two five-round groups DA and two SA with each ammo. Group size was measured from the two furthest holes from the outside (furthest away) edge of one hole to the inside (nearest edge) hole of the other. The DA trigger pull made those attempts more difficult, so the best results were from the single-action attempts. I’d say my DA/SA groups


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

Springfield Armory’s Rob Leatham discusses the XDe at a recent event for writers and other industry professionals.

gun review are more indicative of my ability (or inability) to maintain concentration while trying not to pull the pistol off target than the inherent mechanical accuracy of the XDe. The bright fiber-optic front sight did help. The best Remington Golden Sabre single-action group measured 2 ¾ inches. The best first shot double-action group opened up to 5 ¼ inches. The best Speer Gold Dot singleaction group measured 2 inches, with the best first shot double-action group measuring 3 7/16 inches. THE SPRINGFIELD XDE is a wellexecuted example of a traditional double-action pistol. The inherent characteristics of this design are not for everyone. But, if you want a polymer single-stack nine, with a double-action first shot and manual safety, the XDe should meet your needs. 


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

A Springfield Armory rep engages targets from inside a truck with the XDe.

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The Robert E. Petersen Gallery is a recent addition to the NRA’s National Firearms Museum.


Think a trip to the museum means old paintings and ancient bones? Think again. This summer, plan to visit one of our nation’s must-see collections for those who love to hunt and shoot. Editor’s Note: If you’re one of those people who grimace at the sound of the word “museum,” or groan at the thought of walking into a stuffy, dusty building with room after room filled with boring and blasé items of no interest to you, we get it. You’re an “outdoor” person. But trust us. Leave your traumatic childhood fieldtrip experiences behind,

and open your mind to the world of living firearms history, as may be found in a variety of fascinating, historical collections spread throughout the United States. From Jack O’Connor’s personal memorabilia to the NRA’s “Hollywood Guns” collection, you may end up adding a day to your vacation just to see everything you can.

The Buffalo Bill Museum has more than 9,000 items on display.



dvancements in firearms technology over the last 500 years have continually altered the world as we know it, from the way we gather food to the way we defend ourselves and how we fight wars. The very course of modern human history runs parallel to that of advancements in firearms, and those advancements can be seen in firearms museums around the country. Here’s a look at five must-see firearms and hunting museums. Jack O’Connor Hunting Heritage and Education Center Lewiston, Idaho Jack O’Connor is without a doubt one of the greatest gun writers of the modern era. During his tenure 50

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at Outdoor Life Magazine, he hunted some of the world’s most remote areas, including Iran, Angola and India, and his knowledge of firearms design was second-tonone. Thankfully, many of his manuscripts, trophies and guns have been preserved in the Jack O’Connor Hunting Heritage and Education Center near his home. Located on the edge of the Snake River, this museum houses the trophies that O’Connor collected during his decades-long career (many of which, if you’re an O’Connor fan, you’ll recognize, like his best Dall sheep and a massive Angolan lion). Born in 1902 in Arizona, O’Connor became the University of Arizona’s first journalism professor before heading on to a career in the outdoor industry. His museum, which opened in 2006, is both a showcase of the legendary hunter’s many

accomplishments and a learning center where visitors are educated on the North American model of conservation and the role hunters play in preserving game around the world. Plus, the museum houses some of O’Connor’s favorite guns, firearms that became almost as famous as the hunter himself like his beloved .270 Winchester sheep rifle. The O’Connor Center is open Tuesdays through Fridays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit NRA National Firearms Museum Fairfax, Virginia The National Rifle Association’s National Firearms Museum is a must-see for any gun enthusiast, and with 15 galleries that house 85 exhibits and roughly 3,000 of the 51

world’s most important firearms in a 15,000-square-foot space, you might want to give yourself two days to wander through this museum. Located in Fairfax, Virginia, the National Firearms Museum houses the incredible Robert E. Petersen Gallery, which was added in 2010 and is certainly one of the most impressive collections of firearms on display anywhere in the world. A serious hunter and avid gun collector (although the term “gun collector” is an understatement), Petersen was the publisher of some of the most popular firearms titles in his lifetime and the fine rifles, shotguns and handguns that he left behind are extremely impressive. The “Hollywood Guns” collection in the William B. Ruger gallery is another fan favorite, a showcase of some of the most famous firearms to ever grace the silver screen. Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the week. The museum is closed on Christmas Day and admission is free. For more information, visit International Wildlife Museum Tucson, Arizona Safari Club International has thousands of members around the world and the organization has long been a voice for responsible conservation. Founded in 1988, the museum houses over 400 different species of insects, birds, reptiles and mammals from around the world that have been donated by government agencies, wildlife rehabilitation centers, captive breeding programs and private individuals. It’s a rare opportunity to view lifelike recreations of hundreds of animals in dioramas that mimic their natural environment. In addition, the museum is also a learning center that educates the public on the role that hunting play in conservation. Exhibits rotate on a regular basis, but in the past have included Sensory Safari (which allows students to actually touch the 52

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The Jack O’Connor Center is a must-see bucket list item for fans of the legendary outdoor writer.

displays), Stealing Wildlife, Africa’s Deadliest, Sharks: Fierce Hunters of the Sea and Arizona Jaguars: Big Cats on the Border. The International Wildlife Museum is a fantastic opportunity for hunters of all ages to learn more about a wide variety of animal species, and to see some of the world’s finest taxidermy mounts on display. Regular museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends. For more information, visit Remington Firearms Museum and Country Store Ilion, New York In 1816, Eliphalet Remington began building firearms near Ilion, New York. Now, two centuries later, the company that bears his name is the oldest and one of the largest firearms manufacturers in the world. In modern times, Remington has moved operations to other parts of the

OTHER TOP FIREARMS COLLECTIONS: American Firearms Museum (part of the Winchester Mystery House) 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, California For more information, visit: The Autry Museum of the American West 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, California For more information, visit: John M. Browning Firearms Museum 2501 Wall Avenue, Ogden, Utah For more information, visit: J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit 2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, Idaho For more information, visit: history.idaho. gov/old-idaho-penitentiary-exhibits Springfield Armory National Historic Site One Armory Square, Springfield, Massachusetts For more information, visit:


You’ll see “Dirty” Harry Callahan’s S&W .44 Magnum among the many easily-recognized firearms at the NRA’s “Hollywood Guns” exhibit.

country, but the Ilion factory still produces firearms and it is home to the Remington Firearms Museum. Many of the early Remington firearms are on display, and a tour of the museum highlights the brilliant engineering advances that have helped firearms advance to modern times. There are also a number of custom guns on display, art in wood and steel that displays unmatched gun crafting skills. If you’re a fan of Big Green—or guns in general—add a trip to Ilion to your bucket list. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Buffalo Bill Center of the West Cody, Wyoming The Buffalo Bill Museum is a mustsee attraction for any hunter or shooter traveling through this part of the country. The Buffalo Bill Center not only covers the life of Bill 54

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In addition to a large number of rotating and limited exhibits, SCI’s International Wildlife Museum features several lifelike dioramas of animals in their natural habitats. 55

A walk through the Remington Museum begins with this wall of rifles produced by Big Greenwhere visitors can delve as deeply into the details of the exhibits as they desire.


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Cody, it also examines his associates like Annie Oakley and Buck Taylor as well as ranching and western life in general, with more than 9,000 items on display. Hunters and shooters will be particularly interested in the extensive collections within the Cody Firearms Museum, which houses the Winchester Arms Collection, which was gifted to the museum in 1988. But the Cody Firearms Museum is home to much more than just the Winchester collection, and you’ll have an opportunity to view a wide variety of different firearms from manufacturers like Marlin, L.C. Smith, Stevens and more, as well as Hollywood guns and Cody’s personal weapons. With more than 7,000 guns on display and 30,000 firearmsrelated items, you’ll need to plan on multiple days in the museum if you truly want to absorb everything that is available to

visitors, and if you are a history buff or a researcher the records department at the museum has detailed info about the different guns on display. If you are a gun enthusiast this truly is a can’tmiss destination. Summer hours (May 1 to Sept. 15) are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For more information, visit National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Oklahoma City is the home of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which houses important artifacts from the period of western expansion and settlement in this country. Opened in 1955, the museum is currently one of the highest-ranked tourist attractions in the city and each year thousands of visitors walk through the doors. Hunters and shooters will be interested in the Weitzenhoffer Gallery of Fine American Firearms, one of the most impressive and extensive collections of late twentieth-century firearms from major manufacturers like Colt and Winchester. Though the exhibit isn’t as large as some of the others on this list (it covers about 1,000 square feet), the roughly 100 guns on display here are some of the rarest and most interesting that you’ll find anywhere. In addition to the firearms on display, there are a number of other interesting artifacts from that time period and rotating exhibits that offer insight into several decades of Western culture. Guns played a vital role in the period of westward expansion and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is a must-see attraction for any gun enthusiast. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit 


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SUMMER TIME IS HUNTING TIME The traditional ‘off-season’ can still provide hunters with a wide variety of excellent game and location options.

The author’s son, Kazden, with a whopper of a freerange axis deer taken in Texas. Axis deer can also be hunted on multiple islands in Hawaii.



ummer is here, and with it comes warmer weather, vacation time and road trips. Whether embarking upon a family journey or going solo to a remote getaway, there are still many options if you want to get in some hunting. June and July aren’t usually associated with hunting season, but if you have the interest, there’s always something, somewhere, to hunt in the U.S. While international hunting is also popular this time of year, you can stay domestic and take advantage of several opportunities close to home. Here’s a look at some summer hunts that are fun, easy to arrange, and won’t break the bank. After whitetail deer, pigs are number two on the list of our most hunted big game animal in the U.S. They reside in many states, and where they thrive, hunting opportunities are many, and can be enjoyed year-round. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA IS PIG HEAVEN, as their numbers have grown so rapidly, population counts are no longer feasible. The biggest challenge of pig hunting here isn’t filling a tag, rather finding a place to hunt, since hogs occupy so much private ground. Personally, I wouldn’t spend time hunting public lands for pigs, as they are simply too few and what pigs are there move around often in search of food. Instead, head to private land and seek permission. Paying a small trespass fee may enable you to access some lands. Most farmers want the marauding pigs gone as they inflict a lot of crop damage and tear up cattle pastures. A guided hunt is 61

ROAD HUNTER The author has been on many pig hunts with popular Northern California guide Parrey Cremeans. Land access is the biggest challenge of pig hunting in many states, which is where knocking on doors or hiring a guide comes in.

also an option, and they are among the most affordable big game hunts in the country. For example, Parrey Cremeans of (visit justforhunting. com, or call 530-515-5682) out of Redding, in Northern California, is a top-notch guide with prime land and is very reasonably priced. Across the country in Florida, pigs also continue to devastate pastureland in short order. The last time my family visited the Sunshine State, we had no trouble getting permission to hunt on multiple ranches. The farmlands around Lake Okeechobee are loaded with pigs. Texas is also riddled with hogs, and there, nighttime hunts are a blast. Whether running bait or going on foot, pursuing swine with nothing more than a flashlight and a shotgun is great fun. Wild pigs are some of the best eating big game out there, but as the heat rises this time of year, you need to get the hide off and the fat away from the meat as soon as you can. 62

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Prairie dog towns can huge, and are sometimes measured in square miles. Find a place like this, and you can enjoy days of shooting.

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ROAD HUNTER Put the meat in a cooler and the fat in a freezer, as hog fat is great for rendering down to cook with. IT’S NO SECRET THAT BEAR meat is among my favorites to be found in North America, and bear fat is also excellent for rendering. Northern Idaho offers exceptional bear hunting opportunities on public land. In fact, there are multiple twobear areas, and a wolf tag can also be purchased in many units. These hunts are in the high country, but can often be reached initially by vehicle, and then by packing in to establish bait stations. The forest is so dense in these areas that baits are the best way to draw bears in. Hunting over baits allows you to size up a bear, evaluate its hide quality and even hold out for a color phase bear, if that’s your goal. Setting on broken timber on the edge of open habitat, and doing some predator calling, can also be very effective in June. By then, elk calves and deer fawns are dropping, and bears love what they think will be an easy meal. Get some calf and fawn distress calls going, along with a cow elk and fawn decoy, and a bear just might come charging in. There’s no greater thrill in calling in big game than a bear, as it’s coming in to kill the prey, which is you. SUMMER IS ALSO PRIME TIME to get in some high-volume shooting on small game, and the options are many. Eastern Oregon offers the highest volume varmint shoot in the country for Belding’s ground squirrels. These small squirrels invade alfalfa fields, and farmers want them gone. It’s nothing to set up a shooting bench or toss a pad on the ground and fire 1,000 rounds without needing to move. The following day, return to the same spot and do the same thing. SWAT teams often train on these pesky varmints, and alfalfa fields rarely get shot out. From Baker, Oregon, down to Burns, 64

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Idaho offers some of the best bear hunting opportunities in the country. With lots of public land, and the fact baiting is still allowed here, success runs high. The author took this gorgeous bear in Idaho, one of many he’s taken in the panhandle region.

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ROAD HUNTER HAUGEN’S PERSONAL PICK: ATLASWARE BOTTLES Summer means hot weather, and the best bottle I’ve seen for keeping liquids cool for days is one by Atlasware. Designed by the same people who designed the Space Shuttle, this is a double-walled, stainless steel bottle that’s vacuum insulated. It’s incredibly durable and puncture resistant, and there is no chemical leeching. I used it in well below freezing temperatures while hunting this past winter, and it kept my coffee hot all day. I’ve used it fishing on hot days and still had ice in it nine hours later. One other time, after four days, the bottle was still over half-full of ice. Atlasware bottles come in an array of colors with optional cap accessories. They can even be personalized with your name or company logo. My search for the perfect water bottle is over, for the simple reason Atlasware bottles work so well, greatly surpassing even what the manufacturer claims they are capable of doing. For more information, visit, and you’ll never worry about keeping your drinks cold during the hot summer hunts again.

through Lakeview and into northern California, the shooting can be phenomenal. Get to them before it gets too hot, though, as they will


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

crawl into their holes and not come out until next spring; they are North America’s longest hibernating ground squirrels.

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Prairie dogs are number two on the high-volume hit list. Montana, Wyoming, South and North Dakota, Nebraska and more, hold some 67

ROAD HUNTER impressive sized prairie dog towns. My family once hunted a prairie dog town in southeastern Montana that was 3 miles wide and more than 7 miles long. We hunted it for three days and never came close to seeing it all. Marmots, also known as rock chucks, are prevalent throughout much of the West. They can usually be hunted in the same areas as squirrels and prairie dogs, usually in the nearby foothills. They like rocky terrain, so take the binoculars in order to efficiently cover ground with your eyes. HAWAII HAS LONG BEEN A vacation magnet, and many families travel there as soon as school is out, but I know many hunters who can only take so many days on the beach. There are multiple islands that hold axis deer, and they are one of the best eating, most plentiful deer


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The earliest season for indigenous deer in the U.S. is for Columbia blacktails, and takes place in northern California. Here, hunts start as early as mid-July, with others beginning in early to mid-August. The conditions are hot, but the deer are plentiful.

ROAD HUNTER species in the country. I’ve hunted axis deer multiple times in Hawaii, on Molokai and Lanai, and seeing in excess of 400 animals in an afternoon hunt is common. Both bucks and does carry white spots through adulthood, and big bucks sport antlers more than 30 inches in length. Spot and stalk is the way to hunt axis deer, intercepting them as they move from bedding to feeding areas. I’ve hunted them solo on Molokai, and with a guide. Maui also has excellent axis deer hunting. In the continental U.S., Texas is the go-to spot for axis deer. Originally these deer were introduced on private ranches. Today they roam free, and can be hunted in many places. The last time my younger son and I hunted in west Texas, we happened upon road kill after road kill of axis deer. We saw them roaming wild in

fields and along rivers. Hooking up with a friend, my son took a massive free-range axis deer. Kazden had a European mount of the skull and velvet-covered rack and tanned the hide, but it was the meat the family enjoyed most. THE EARLIEST DEER SEASON in the continental U.S. is in northern California, for Columbia blacktailed deer. Mid-July marks the annual archery opener, and while temperatures are hot, bucks are up and active. High-elevation hunts take place in the Trinity Alps, the Yolla Bolly Wilderness and other regions where you can find blacktails above the 8,000-foot level. You’ll need to be in shape for these hunts, as well as be able to navigate and be selfsustaining while carrying a camp on your back the whole time. Also, make sure you have a plan and the physical

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American Shooting Journal // June 2017

and mental ability to get the meat – and all your gear – off the mountain. In August, many blacktail deer seasons open throughout northern California. If looking for an earlyseason deer hunt, California offers many options, but be prepared to handle the heat. No matter where your summer travels may lead, don’t overlook the options of going on a hunt. Plan ahead, hit the road, and discover for yourself how good the hunting can be during this so-called “off-season.”  Editor’s Note: For signed copies of Scott Haugen’s best selling book, Trophy Blacktails: The Science Of The Hunt, send a check for $20.00 (free S&H) to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489. It and many of his books can be ordered online at Watch for his show, The Hunt, now on Netflix! 71



A M3 tank crew with .45 revolvers and a Model 1928 Thompson during a training exercise at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. (U.S. ARMY)

From G.I.s to gangsters and G-Men, in both real and “reel” life, the Tommy Gun continues to make history. STORY AND PHOTOS BY ROB REED


ew firearms have earned the mystique that the Thompson submachine gun has enjoyed for nearly a century. The long association that the “Tommy Gun” has had with gangsters, G-men and G.I.s has made it a movie star, a prized collectible, and an American icon. The gun’s genesis dates back to World War I when retired General John T. Thompson sought to develop a lightweight, fast-firing rifle that U.S. troops could use as a “trench broom” to break the stalemate of trench warfare. Thompson believed recoil or gas operated weapons were too heavy and complicated for this role and sought a new method of operation. He formed the Auto-Ordnance Company (AOC), found financial backing, and hired engineers to help develop this weapon. Thompson seized upon the concept of the Blish Lock, developed by John Bell Blish (a career U.S. naval officer and inventor), as the key element for the design. The principle is that dissimilar materials adhere to each other on an inclined plane with greater force than similar materials. When work revealed that the .30-06 cartridge was too powerful for this system, the weapon was designed around the standard .45 ACP pistol round instead. In the final design, an H-shaped bronze wedge would adhere to the steel bolt to keep the breech closed until pressure dropped to a safe level. This pre-war photo shows a cavalry soldier with a Model 1928 Thompson during a training exercise. Taken at Fort The resulting weapon was dubbed the Riley, Kansas. (U.S. ARMY) Annihilator I. This initial offering resembled later versions of the Thompson SMG, except that instead of a buttstock, it had only rear and forward pistol grips. The distinctive drum magazine also appeared for the first time. However, by the time the prototypes were ready, the war was over, and Auto-Ordnance now had to figure out how to sell a gun designed and produced for a war that had just ended. They added a buttstock, made some minor mechanical improvements, and rechristened the weapon the “Thompson Submachine Gun.” This was the first use of what would become the standard term for a hand-held, full-auto weapon firing pistol caliber ammunition. COLT’S MANUFACTURING COMPANY produced the Model 1921 for AOC under contract. The guns were finely machined, with rich bluing, finished walnut stocks and fully adjustable Lyman rear sights. The bolt handle was on the 73

top of the receiver and the separate safety and selector, as well as the magazine release, were on the left side. A Model 1921 weighed almost 11 pounds unloaded and almost 15 pounds with a loaded 50 round drum magazine. The 10 ½-inch barrel included machined cooling fins. In 1926, designers added a Cutts compensator as an option, and guns so equipped were called the Model 1921AC. The gun fired 230-grain .45 ACP cartridges at a cyclic rate of 800 to 900 RPM. The guns cost $225 each, with a 20round stick mag. Optional 50-round “L” mags were available for $20 each. To give an idea of the relative expense at that time, a new Model T automobile could be purchased for about $400. Needless to say, sales were slow. The U.S. Postal Service purchased some for the U.S. Marines to use to guard mail cars on trains. The Marines liked the gun and bought a few hundred more, and they used

Oklahoma City detectives and FBI agents pose with four Thompson Submachine Guns and a Browning Auto 5 shotgun after the shootout and capture of Wilbur Underhill, the notorious “Tri-State Terror,” on Dec. 30, 1933. The man kneeling on the right is D.A. “Jelly” Bryce, who would later become involved in as many as 19 gunfights as a famous FBI agent. (George Franklin)


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

them to great General John T. Thompson admires his namesake weapon. effect in the South American “Banana Wars” of the 1920s. The U.S. Army tested the gun, and although they found it suitable, they failed to adopt it. About 650 were sold to the Irish Republic, although U.S. Customs confiscated most of these. An estimated 150 or so did make it to the Irish Republican Army to be used in the Irish Revolution unrest. In the summer of 1921, and Irish Civil War. several Model 1921s were used Auto-Ordnance sold a few guns in West Virginia’s “Battle of Blair to police agencies and to large Mountain,” a labor dispute that escalated into an armed conflict companies worried about labor 75

Guards at the Lake County Jail keep watch with a Model 1921AC Thompson. Ironically, the gun on the right is likely one of the two Thompsons Dillinger stole when he broke out of jail. (Porter County Sheriff’s Department)

Bank Robber John Dillinger poses with a Model 1921AC Thompson stolen during his escape from the Lake County (Indiana) Jail in 1934. (The Crime Museum, Washington, DC.)

between coal miners, the company (who used the Thompson guns), and the government. This conflict is one of the first recorded uses of the Thompson SMG in action. However, many of the 15,000 Model 1921s manufactured by Colt remained unsold for up to two decades. In 1928 the U.S. Navy placed an order for Thompsons specifically modified to better suit their needs. The changes included a slower rate of fire and a horizontal foregrip. Auto-Ordnance reduced the ROF to 600 to 700 RPM by adding weight to the bolt with a heavier actuator. The horizontal foregrips were installed (vertical foregrips remained an option on commercial guns) and the modified guns were remarked with an “8” stamped over the “1” in the last digit of “1921.” For that reason, 76

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The Porter County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Department loaned this Model 1921AC Thompson to the Lake County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Department in 1934 to guard John Dillinger. After Dillinger escaped from jail and stole this gun, it was eventually recovered and returned to the Porter County Sheriff, where it is now on display. (David Lain, Porter County Sheriff’s Department).

collectors refer to these guns as “Model 1921/1928 Overstamp.” DESPITE ITS MILITARY INTENT, the Tommy Gun really entered the public consciousness as a crime gun. As Prohibition-era bootleggers and gangsters sought to expand their business, protect their turf and “rub out” the competition, the Thompson was prized for its firepower and large ammo capacity. Many shooters removed the buttstock to make the gun easier to conceal, although at a loss of accuracy. The negative perception of the Tommy Gun only worsened with the activity of Depression era criminals such as John Dillinger, “Machine Gun” Kelly and “Pretty Boy” Floyd. High profile killings such as the February 1929 St. Valentine’s Day

Massacre, in which seven men were machine-gunned in a Chicago garage, also damaged (or added to) the gun’s reputation. However, as criminals turned to the Thompson, so did the police. Many local agencies acquired Thompsons in case any statehopping “motor bandits” showed in their area. The FBI also purchased large numbers of the Model 1928 Navy. Ironically, in some cases, these very police guns wound up arming the criminals! During John Dillinger’s famous 1934 escape from the Lake County (Indiana) jail, he stole two Thompsons that had been used by the men who were guarding him. In other cases, criminals raided police stations and National Guard armories to steal the weapons. am a ame meric me rriiccan ans a nshootin ns hoo hoo ho ootin ttiin ingjo gjjo gj ou urn r al. rn l. co com o 77

The hysteria over the Thompson Submachine Gun was enflamed even more by magazine headlines like, “The Amazing Secret Traffic in Gang Death Machines,” and in movies such as 1932’s Scarface, a fictionalized portrayal of Al Capone, which prominently featured a Thompson in the movie poster. This public fear led to the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934 that required buyers pay a $200 tax on each machine gun purchase and register the weapon with the Federal government before delivery. THE START OF WORLD WAR II saved Auto-Ordnance from bankruptcy. As war clouds loomed over Europe in the late 1930s, sales to the French and British brought in much needed cash, and finally exhausted the stock of guns manufactured in 1921. The U.S. Army also belatedly realized it would need more SMGs to fight what would become a global conflict and placed large orders. Once again, Auto-Ordnance turned to an outside manufacturer to subcontract production. This time it was the Savage Arms Company of Utica, New York (Colt wasn’t interested). As the war progressed, and orders for hundreds of

The 1932 movie Scarface was a fictionalized version of Al Capone’s life. In the lobby card (above) and movie still (right), star Paul Muni is seen with a Model 1921 Thompson.

thousands of guns came in, more design changes were made to meet production demands. The military Model 1928A1 was a simplified version of the Model 1928 Navy. The highly polished blued finish was replaced with a A Marine fires a M1 Thompson at Japanese positions during the Battle for Okinawa during WWII. (U.S. ARMY)


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

duller blue/black finish. Other small changes included the elimination of the complex Lyman rear sight with a simple stamped “L” sight, elimination of the checkering on small parts, and elimination of the barrel cooling fins. This was the last version that could accept a drum magazine. However, even with the changes to the Model 1928, the Thompson remained expensive and slow to produce. In a new effort to speed manufacture, Savage simplified the weapon even more. The most significant change was the elimination of the Blish Lock in favor of a straight blowback design with a cyclic rate of about 600 to 650 RPM. Savage also eliminated the receiver cuts needed to accept the drum magazines, modified the bolt, relocated the bolt actuator to the side of the receiver, and deleted the Cutts compensator. The blued finish was replaced with Parkerization 79

and the buttstock was permanently attached. These modifications did speed up production and also saved the government about half of the previous $209 cost per gun. A later variant, the M1A1, eliminated the separate firing pin in favor of a pin machined on the bolt face and added protective wings for the rear sight. The Thompson, in both 1928 and M1 variants, served in all the theaters of the war and afterward, when it was supplied as part of the lend lease program to wartime allies such as the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China. It was especially prized for close-in fighting. By the time the Thompson was replaced on the production lines by the cheaper M3 “Grease Gun” in February 1944, more than 1,750,000

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill holds a Tommy Gun in July of 1940 in Hartlepool, England, home of the RAF’s Greatham airstrip.

Soviet Naval Infantry pose with Model 1928A1 Thompsons supplied as Lend-Lease by the U.S. during WWII. It is believed the Thompsons saw very little use with Soviet forces due to a shortage of .45 ACP ammo.


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

Founded by warriors. inspired by their legacy. gladiate as a way of life. Made in America...SOF Veteran owned and operated 81

Tommy Gun Gallery

A Model 1921 Thompson Submachine Gun. (James D. Julia Auctioneers)

Model of 1921 side stamp. (James D. Julia Auctioneers)

A close-up view of a Cutts compensator. (James D. Julia Auctioneers)

The loading instructions on a 50 round “L” drum magazine. (James D. Julia Auctioneers)

The M1A1 was the final, most simplified version of the Thompson made in large numbers in WWII. (James D. Julia Auctioneers)

had been manufactured, and these saw service until the end of the war. Following World War II, the Thompson was largely withdrawn from U.S. service in favor of the M3 and full-auto M2 Carbine. U.S. forces in Korea faced Thompsons in enemy hands, which were originally provided to the Nationalist Chinese but which were incorporated into the Chinese Red Army stocks after Mao took over the country. In turn, many G.I.s pressed recaptured Thompsons back 82

American Shooting Journal // June 2017

Model 1928 A1 side stamp. (James D. Julia Auctioneers)

The Navy Model 1928 was a modification of the earlier manufactured Model 1921 Thompson and was re-stamped with an “8” over the “1” in the last digit of “1921.” (James D. Julia Auctioneers)

into service. During the Vietnam War, Thompsons were supplied to South Vietnamese forces as military aid. Although production of the original Thompsons ended in 1944, the Auto-Ordnance Company (under different ownership) briefly made new production full-auto guns in the 1970s and early 1980s. The current company makes semi-auto-only versions today. The Thompson remains one of the most collectable full-auto firearms, with prices ranging from $15,000 for a

1970s production gun up to $45,000 or more for a Model 1921 or Model 1928. For most of us, the closest we’ll get to a Thompson is at the movies where the gangster and G.I. guns play a role on the big screen. In 2009, Johnny Depp wielded a Model 1921AC Thompson as bank robber John Dillinger, and who can forget Tom Hanks as Capt. John Miller with his M1A1 Thompson in 1998’s Saving Private Ryan? Although long out of production, the legend of the Thompson lives on.  83





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SKILLED VIGILANCE At a dedicated 1,100-acre facility in central New York, the state’s Division of Homeland Security trains thousands of ďŹ rst responders to be prepared for any emergency, whether it be in the city, the suburbs or rural areas.

As part of the training at the SPTC, first responders from various agencies, including police and EMS, learn to work together during critical incidents.


American Shooting Journal // June 2017



hether you’re talking about police officers or EMS personnel, first responders need the latest training to be prepared for the unprecedented challenges they face today. And that training needs to be as realistic as possible. The New York State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) is an elaborate, multi-discipline training complex operated by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). It is located in Central New York at the former Oneida County Airport. Terrorist attacks, bomb disposal, SWAT tactics, active shooters, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), EMS response to CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear emergencies), Search & Rescue, Emergency Vehicle Operators Course (EVOC), fire-fighting, woodland tactics, land navigation, team tactics for patrol officers – these are among the subjects practiced by first responders working toward their advanced degrees in saving lives. Now in its 11th year of operation, the SPTC continually looks to teach the most cutting-edge tactics to our frontline homeland heroes. And it does it in a big way. In 2016, nearly 16,000 responders were trained by the SPTC. John P. Melville, commissioner of the DHSES, told us more about this unique state facility.

American Shooting Journal: Commissioner, please describe the SPTC facility and how it is set up to simulate various settings and emergency situations. 95


First responders train at the SPTC for a wide range of emergencies, including the aftermath of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.

John P. Melville: The SPTC is located on 1,100 acres and is home to a diverse set of urban and rural venues, which mirror the geographic diversity of New York State. The Center features a 45,000-square-foot “CityScape” complex, which features a variety of real-world venues, including a school, mall, hotel, courthouse, apartment building, restaurant, and bar. The SPTC has an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) training venue,

called the “Rubble Pile” which is used to mimic post-blast and collapse environments. It also has a Field Operations Building, which is designed like an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) station and enhances the realism of SPTC training courses. In addition to numerous urban and suburban venues, the SPTC also features extensive rural training areas, including wooded cabins and a mobile home park. The SPTC also offers

Role players playing victims and attackers add to the realism of the training at the SPTC.


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

a series of courses that emphasize these rural training areas, including Woodland Tactics, Land Navigation, and ATV/UTV Operators course. ASJ: How special is the SPTC? JPM: The SPTC is very unique in terms of its stature as a state-run, multidisciplinary training center focused on first responders. The federal government has established a series of training consortium partners (i.e. New Mexico Tech, Louisiana State University) that provide specialty training for first responders. However, having an advanced, diverse, multidisciplinary center operated by state government is fairly unique in the world of homeland security.    ASJ: Are the first responders from New York State exclusively? JPM: DHSES focuses on training New York State’s first responders at the SPTC. That said, given the opportunity for terrorism events to transcend jurisdictional boundaries (i.e. New York/New Jersey bombings in 2016), the SPTC does welcome students from surrounding states for special training events. For example, in 2015 and 2016, the SPTC was selected as one of four sites nationally for the “Raven’s Challenge,” which is a Department of



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BEHIND THE BADGE A scale model of a city helps officials plan for how they will coordinate the multi-agency responses to different types of emergencies

An officer works his canine partner around the edge of a rubble pile during a post-blast urban search and rescue exercise.

Defense and Department of Justice exercise focused on enhancing interoperability between Public Safety Bomb Squads and Military Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Units. The Raven’s Challenge drew participants from across the country to the SPTC, including students from Michigan, South Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.    ASJ: Besides the types of training mentioned earlier, what else does the SPTC offer? JPM: The SPTC offers an extensive assortment of training courses each year, including ones in the areas noted above. We are continually coordinate with partners to offer new and diverse offerings and to update our training programs based on new venues at the SPTC. For example, in 2018, a new Swift Water and Flood Training (SWFT) complex will open at the SPTC. SWFT will occupy seven acres of land (including a three-acre pond) and will include a swift water channel and an urban flood simulator. SWFT is the first of its kind swift water training facility dedicated solely to training first responders. The SPTC is coordinating with the DHSES Office of 98

American Shooting Journal // June 2017

Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) to enhance and expand its current water-based training programs to meet the new opportunities provided through SWFT. ASJ: What role, if any, does the federal government play in the operation? JPM: In addition to state funding, DHSES also leverages federal Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funding from the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to support the SPTC.  Beyond funding, partnerships with the federal government are important to enhancing the training options provided at the SPTC. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regularly hosts advanced training courses at the SPTC for state and local first responders. In March 2017, the FBI hosted its Vehicle-Born Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) Immediate Action training course at the Center. Over a dozen bomb technicians from New York and Vermont were trained on the latest techniques from the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School (HDS) on how to respond to VBIEDs. In addition to the FBI, the SPTC regularly coordinates with the Bureau

The SPTC regularly trains bomb units from various police agencies and the National Guard.

First responders work quickly to remove victims from the danger zone.

BEHIND THE BADGE of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Defense to offer training at the Center. ASJ: How do the training scenarios at the SPTC integrate the various agencies? JPM: Multi-disciplinary training is a trademark of the SPTC. The Center regularly trains responders from Law Enforcement, EMS, the Fire Service, Emergency Management, etc., so integrating these disciplines together in training is a priority of the Center. For example, the SPTC’s most sophisticated training course is the Advanced Active Shooters Scenario (A2S2) course. This training integrates 30 law enforcement and 30 EMS responders together to respond to a complex, coordinated series of terrorist attacks. The responders from both


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

Training in bomb detection and disposal often incorporates the use of robots to safely approach suspicious containers.

disciplines are trained in the Rescue Task Force (RTF) concept, in which EMS responders are brought into a warm zone during an incident by law enforcement to quickly, effectively,

and safely treat patients. DHSES has offered A2S2 training since 2010 and more than 1,100 first responders from across the state have been trained through this course. ame eric ricans ans n hoo ootin otin ingjo g urn gjo urnal. al. com om m 10 101 01

BEHIND THE BADGE ASJ: How are these training exercises made to be as realistic as possible? JPM: The Center works to ensure that the training offered is as realistic as possible, from the development of scenarios based on recent events, to realistic training venues, to the extensive use of professional role players. For example, the SPTC has access to a cadre of over 70 trained role players who can fill both passive roles and aggressive roles to ensure that training is as realistic as possible. This is a major difference between the SPTC and training offered in localities. The Center’s most popular course is the “Initial Response to Active Shooters” (IRAS). It’s offered roughly 20 times each year with 30 law enforcement students trained in each delivery. Through discussion, skills lanes, and scenario-based activities, this two-day course emphasizes techniques and tactics


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

EMS responders have to quickly assess patient status in potentially dangerous surroundings.

that will allow first arriving officers to an Active Shooter Event to quickly and decisively engage attackers and mitigate the threat. The instructors stress “the why” with each tactic taught so that

students can choose the best tactic for the given situation. Tactics include room clearing, hallway movement, team movement, and stairway clearing. IRAS features ten role players to enhance the realism of 103

BEHIND THE BADGE this course. The end of the training features an extensive “hotwash” with students and instructors to further share lessons learned and best practices and to reinforce key training objectives.    ASJ: How are the training scenarios tailored to the increasingly complex types of threats faced by first responders? JPM: DHSES maintains a close partnership with the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC), the designated Fusion Center in the state, to ensure that current trends and tactics of terrorism related events are integrated into SPTC training. Our training courses are updated regularly to incorporate the most recent threats and the SPTC also hosts special events each year that are driven by recent incidents. For example, each year the SPTC hosts the Excelsior Challenge, which is a

EMS personnel often have to deal with critical injuries to multiple victims.

training event designed to increase operational coordination and communication among bomb squads, explosive detection canine teams, and tactical teams. More than 100 responders from more than 30 different law enforcement organizations participate in this training each year. The 2016 Excelsior Challenge last September

Officers take part in active shooter training at the SPTC’s mock city.

featured a series of scenarios inspired by recent terrorist attacks, including the events in Paris (2015), San Bernardino (2015), Brussels (2016), and Dallas (2016).  Editor’s Note: To learn more about the offerings of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, visit

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Purple Pixie


Five years ago, Aimee Williams was in search of a hobby. Today, she finds herself high on the leaderboards of many Steel and Rimfire Challenge events. STORY AND PHOTOS BY OLEG VOLK


photo of Aimee Williams in action could be used as a textbook illustration for focused energy and concentration. She personifies effort, spirit and achievement, all wrapped up in a high-energy, 5-foot 1-inch pixie frame. From a humble start – plinking with her twin sons on Mother’s Day in 2012 – she shot her first Steel Challenge match in the spring of 2013 at the Nampa Rod and Gun Club in Nampa, Idaho. By 2015, she’d placed first in the Ladies Division in rifle, pistol or overall at nearly 20 local competitions.


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

Aimee shooting a custom Volquartsen Rifle with a Gemtech G5-22 Suppressor and an ATN Thermal Rifle Scope ThOR-HD. 111

Aimee Williams is a rising competitor in both Steel Challenge and Rimfire Challenge competition.

Humble but personable, she has quickly become one of the favorites of other shooters on the competition circuit, and has proven to be popular with sponsors as well. Her swift success story is also a notable opposite of the stereotypes often trotted out by the anti-gun crowd. Although not unfamiliar with guns, Aimee had only shot them a few times while in her twenties. The impetus to do so grew out of a desire to start a hobby of her own, since her sons would soon be leaving the nest. At first, her children were incredulous about the sports shooting focus, but soon progressed to bragging about their mother, re-posting her photos on social media and generally playing up her maternal awesomeness. MUCH OF AIMEE’S FORMAL TRAINING came from Ron Stricklin, with whom she began working in 2015. As she continued competing, she discovered that most of her fellow shooters were quite willing to help her improve by sharing what they knew, even though she would be competing directly against them later. The industry supporting the shooting sports proved very generous with equipment as well. After borrowing guns for her first few competitive efforts, Aimee finally got some of her own. Her first major event was the 2013 Ruger Rimfire Challenge held in Parma, Idaho, and one of the local gun stores built a 10/22 rifle for her to compete in that match. After shooting the discipline, Aimee was hooked and wanted to really learn how to shoot a rifle. Then somebody spoke to Vortex Optics, and they sent her a red dot sight. Soon after, Tactical Solutions’ Mike Wirth found her and introduced her to Chet Alvord, one of the principals of that company. Later, she met the Tandemkross team at SHOT Show, and her guns got upgraded. With Tactical Solutions and, later, Volquartsen Firearms providing rimfire guns, Aimee was set for both Steel Challenge and Rimfire Challenge, two disciplines that differ primarily in the target configuration


American Shooting Journal // June 2017 113

Aimee is more than adept with her pistol.

and number of shots permitted. With the help of Adaptive Graphx, a Cerakote specialist, she transformed her guns into functioning purplehued works of art to match her unique purple jersey. Even when she is part of a team with a standard visual scheme, Aimee has always worked in her own distinctive colors as a visual reminder of her easily identifiable “call sign,” PurpleVortexGirl, in honor of her first sponsor. Aimee’s current sponsors also include Steel Target Paint, Tandemkross, Larry’s Sporting Goods and Nanuk gun cases. Gemtech supplies her high-grade rimfire ammunition. In 2016, Focus Vision Therapy helped her transition from shooting with one eye open to two eyes open. Most recently, she started shooting a .45 ACP gas-operated carbine made by Flint River Armory in Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) for Steel Challenge and USPSA. The .45 is a stand-in for the eventual 9mm model, which isn’t yet produced. She 114

American Shooting Journal // June 2017

chose the CSA45 in large part due to the extra-mild recoil, but Aimee has fired more powerful guns, including a 50 MBG rifle. A RIMFIRE CHALLENGE MATCH is shot with both a .22 rifle and a .22 pistol. Each competitor is allowed eleven

rounds and shoots five to seven static plates, hoping to attain the fastest time. In Steel Challenge, eight standard stages with five steel plates each require mostly dexterity and practice. Rimfire Challenge stages vary in arrangement, with the plates in unpredictable configurations, so

Concentration personified, Aimee takes dead aim with her competition rifle. 115

Her current “Purple Power� competition rifle, pistol and ammunition.

quick thinking is also required. Aimee shoots both types of competition, and plans to shoot PCC


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

matches and Steel Challenge/USPSA in the near future. From January through mid-

March, Aimee practices weekly at a local indoor range. Then her outdoor practice season begins. 117

Outdoor practice usually consists of 500 rounds of pre-planned and dedicated practice. In August of 2015, she purchased her own set of steel targets, using them to set up any one of the eight stages for Steel Challenge, as well as configurations mimicking NSSF Rimfire Challenge layouts. That method of “reconnaissance by fire” gives her a leg up on the less dedicated opponents. Although I already knew her to be an excellent shot, she has surprised even me. When I was testing a CAA Roni 9mm Glock conversion to a carbine at the range, I let her try it. She was able to hit steel consistently all the way out to 175 yards from a standing position, while my best efforts topped out at 150 yards from the bench. Her rapid ascent through the competition ranks is due to not only a large measure of natural talent, but also to the more than 30,000 rounds she fires annually in practice. She may be small, but she’s wiry and seemingly indefatigable in practice and competition. Her ability to


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

Aimee Inserting a rotary magazine into her rifle. 119

After another day of dedicated practice, Aimee packs up the tools of her trade and heads home.

attract a variety of sponsors comes from her treating the shooting circuit seriously and doing a yeoman’s job of promoting her growing list of supporters. To that end, Aimee’s social media channels are updated nearly weekly with images, video, commentaries and testimonials. HER ATTRACTION TO THE SHOOTING sports is simple. “I want to get better,” Aimee told me. “I have fun. I like meeting new people. I like learning and improving myself. I like to be challenged.” And challenged she has been, with occasional equipment malfunctions, inclement and scorching weather in turns, long solo drives through both isolated landscapes and traffic-filled urban jungles. In other words, the usual daily issues faced by all competition shooters. To offset those potential annoyances, she’s developed a strong camaraderie among her fellow shooters with no geographic or age divisions, and has found willing 120

American Shooting Journal // June 2017



assistance in gunsmithing, learning and logistics. These positives far outweigh the negatives, and make the shooting sports a welcoming domain for Aimee and many others. In my work with Aimee, I found her to be remarkably patient and even-tempered. Those qualities have obviously served her well in both learning and the training, enabling steady incremental improvements from the almost-zero baseline of 2012. She’s unassuming, and acts perpetually surprised that people want to watch her shoot, to support her with products and materials, and to have pictures taken with her as if she’s a celebrity. The fact that she actually is a celebrity to fans of the shooting sports never enters her mind. In the near future, I expect Aimee to rise through the ranks of the top national shooters. She has the technical ability, the drive and the dedication to self-improvement that make merely good shooters into competition winners. �



lity • Qu







ality • Precision • Ac

Style 3

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ue l a V • curacy

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Breaking Wrist Up Pushing (Anticipating Recoil) or No Follow Through

Too Little Trigger Finger


Heeling (Anticipating Recoil)

10 9

9 10


Thumbing (Squeezing Thumb) or Too Much Trigger Finger








Tightening Fingers Jerking or Slapping Trigger

Style 7

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American Shooting Journal // January 2017

gun review


The Mossberg 930 Pro Series Sporting joins an already successful line of auto-loading target shotguns from the popular manufacturer

Mossberg’s 930 Pro Series Sporting is the newest addition to their popular auto loading target shotgun line. (MOSSBERG)



hotgun fit is a lot like the weather; everybody talks about it, but nobody ever seems to do much about it. Most of us know we will shoot better and be a happier person with a properly fitting shotgun. Yet most of us continue to pick up the generic

off-the-rack shotgun and blast away at the clay target range, usually with disappointing results. Like ill-fitting suits, ill-fitting shotguns do not bring out the best in any of us. Mossberg decided to do something about that. SINCE 1919, O.F. MOSSBERG has continued to deliver innovations

to the gun world. The Mossberg 500 pump shotgun has reached sales numbers approaching that of Remington’s legendary 870, and the 500 is frequently seen in numerous configurations used by police and military around the world. In recent years, the Mossberg 930 auto loader has appeared in several different models, the latest of which is the 930 125

gun review g Pro Series Sporting. “With the success we had developing the JM ProSeries shotgun for 3-gun competition, we knew we had a work-horse semi-auto,” said Mossberg’s Dave Miles, “one that is extremely reliable, very comfortable to shoot, with a great recoil impulse that makes it easy to get on the next target. We knew if we paid attention to the details and sought out the right advice, we could also develop a gun that would be perfect for clay target shooting.” For help in developing the 930 Pro Series model, Mossberg worked with Gil and Vicki Ash of OSP (Optimum Shotgun Performance) Shooting Schools, two wellcredentialed experts in the art of teaching others how to break clay targets with a shotgun. Gil displays a contagious passion for shooting and uses a “no-bull” approach to get to the essence of his students’ shooting problems and solutions. Mr. Ash has won numerous titles in both skeet and sporting clay competitions and has taught professionally since 1984. He was also an instructor for the Holland & Holland Shooting School of England and has studied with many great shooters and

The Special Sporting Clays Stock is designed to fit correctly right out of the box. (MOSSBERG)


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

A close-up look at the 930’s loading gate. (MOSSBERG)

The 930 features a walnut stock with just the right amount of texturing for an improved grip. (MOSSBERG)

instructors. He has been featured on ESPN, TNN, and has hosted a regular spot on the television show “Pull: America’s Great Gun Clubs” on the Outdoor Life cable channel. Known worldwide, Gil has six shooting videos currently sold in the United States and two sold in England and Australia. In short, Gil Ash knows a thing or two about shotguns. With Gil and Vicki’s help, Mossberg developed a new stock and forend that ensures that the 930 Pro-Series Sporting points naturally for most shooters right out of the box. The stock also has an adjustable drop spacer system that provides shooters with the ability to fine tune the fit of their shotgun, so shooters that need more or less drop can adjust the stock as needed. “In 25 years and over 25,000 gun fits that we have done,” said Gil Ash, “I have yet to see a shotgun that needs to be raised on the comb. They all need to be lowered. Also, most production shotguns need to be narrowed at the comb, and this is one thing we did with the 930 Pro Series Sporting model.” During our conversation,

SPECIFICATIONS: MOSSBERG 930 PRO SERIES SPORTING MODEL Gauge: 12 Capacity: 5 Chamber: 3 Barrel Type: Vent Rib, Ported Barrel Length: 28 inches Sight: HiViz TriComp Choke: Accu-Set (by Briley) LOP Type:Fixed LOP: 14 inches Barrel Finish: Blued Stock Finish: Walnut Weight: 7.75 pounds Length: 48.5 inches

Gil asked me what was the first shotgun I thought that I shot well. Considering my age and experience, he said, “Many shooters will say a Remington 1100 or a Browning A5. That is because the 1100 and the A5 had a characteristic lower and narrow comb; after that, the manufacturers started making stocks on shotguns with a thicker and higher comb.” “We worked with Mossberg and came up with stock dimensions so that 90 percent of the shooters out there could shoot well with this shotgun right out of the box.” Short of having a gun custom-fitted for 127

gun review you, this is all you can ask for in a shotgun right off the rack. THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS to evaluate firearms, and in addition to my personal tried and true testing procedures, I like to simply show up on a busy gun club day, hand a shooter the gun in question, and say, ‘OK, what do you think?’ Most shooters are brutally honest and opinionated, so I can usually count on them speaking their mind. I trolled the 930 Sporting model around a crowd of clay shooters in my home state of West Virginia, and I got a lot of useful feedback. One such shooter, Mary Ann Roberts from Fayetteville, shared a written report on the 930 Sporting, and I’ll offer it here. “Yesterday at my local gun club I had the opportunity to shoot the Mossberg 930 Sporting shotgun. We were shooting a round of trap and I was

The shotgun comes with a set of Briley chokes. (MOSSBERG)

not faring so well with my old 20 gauge. I have been shooting trap for about a year and am ready to graduate to something more suited

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American Shooting Journal // June 2017 129

gun review “When I mounted the gun for some test shots,” she continued, “I immediately felt comfortable. The stock is smooth and smaller and it fits me. When I took a few shots, I felt more confident. Also, the recoil is not too over-powering. I was a little uncomfortable with reloading at first, but realized how simple it was with the push button bolt release. We tried several of the chokes and the Improved Cylinder was perfect for shooting trap. I shot other types and brands yesterday, but wanted to pack the Mossberg up in my bag and take it home.”

Coming unsolicited from a fairly new shooter, I’m not sure I can add much more than that. Following this test, she bought a 930 Sporting model of her own, so ‘you’re welcome, Mossberg.’

The 930 is fitted for a HiViz TriComp front sight. (MOSSBERG)


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

THE 930 SPORTING FEATURES a Cerakote finish on the receiver that seems to be almost indestructible, and the beveled loading gate and extra finishing on the elevator facilitates quick and easy reloads

Mossberg’s Stock Drop System provides five drop-at-comb adjustments to complete a perfect fit for any shooter. (MOSSBERG) 131

gun review in the heat of competition. The Boron nitride coated gas piston, piston rings, magazine tube, hammer and sear prevent corrosion and facilitate easier cleaning. The shell stop, bolt slide and elevator receive additional finishing, reducing friction for faster follow-up shots. The Special Sporting Clays Stock is designed to fit correctly right out of the box and its Stock Drop System provides five dropat-comb adjustments to further perfect fit for any shooter. The shotgun also comes with a set of Briley chokes, and that is certainly nothing to sneeze at. With an MSRP of $1,062, the Mossberg 930 may not be the cheapest clay shooting shotgun you will come across, but it will certainly offer great value for the money spent to shooters hoping to improve their scores. 

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Mary Ann Roberts hadn’t planned on testing the new Mossberg 930 Pro Series Sporting shotgun during her range visit…

…but the author encouraged her to put the gun through its paces. Roberts liked the gun enough to purchase one for herself following the test.

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American Shooting Journal // June 2017



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American Shooting Journal // June 2017


Mike Nesbitt taking the full recoil of the big Sharps while shooting offhand at the bucket. (BJ LANES) Inset: Three of the author’s handloads flank an old original Sharps paper patch load (right rear).

FROM BAD RAP TO LONG RANGE The .44-90 Sharps cartridge may not be the best-known configuration introduced by the company, but it will hit where you aim it, even at 1,000 yyards ards STORY AND PHOTOS BY MIKE NESBITT


here aren’t very many “Sharps shooters” using the .44-90 these days, but that doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done. Somewhere along their history, the bottleneck Sharps cartridges got a

“bad rap” with tales about increased black powder fouling. Perhaps those stories were valid at one point. Part of the issue may have been that the Sharps Company itself advertised the straight cases, such as the .4570, as being more “shooter friendly,” although they didn’t use those exact terms. But I like the .44-90 Sharps 137

BLACK ACK POWD POWDER DER Here’s the author’s rifle, 13½ pounds with a 32-inch heavy octagon barrel.

The .44-90 Sharps rifle, complete with gear and ammunition, and ready for some shooting.

and I enjoy e how well it performs. Am more accurate name for the .44-90 Sharps would be the .44-2 5/8, because it has a case which measures becau 2 5/8 iinches in length. The expression “.44-90” comes from its most common “.44loading, load although ammunition was loaded load for this cartridge with powder charges ranging from 90 grains up cha to 1105 grains of black powder. Bullet weights varied too, from 450 grains for we hunting up to 500 and 520 for the longhu range target loads. ra SHARPS S INTRODUCED THE .44-90 in 1873 as a long-range cartridge. It was used by buffalo hunters and for long-range shooting competitions, such as in the 1,000-yard matches currently held at the Creedmoor range. Because the overall length of the loaded cartridges can easily exceed 3 inches, no repeating rifles were ever made for this round and it was simply “at home” in the Model 1874 Sharps and in a few other single shot rifles. Much of the historic info I found about the .44/90 seemed to grow from what I would consider opinion or legend, but that didn’t make it any less 138 38

American Shooting Journal // June 2017

interesting. When I read, “the .44/90 is more accurate at 1,000 yards than the Big .50 is at 600,” it really fueled my desire to learn more. Learning how the .44-90 Sharps was also a Creedmoor cartridge piqued my interest further, although I personally would shy away from a “Creedmoor” rifle in this caliber that had to be less than ten pounds, as the .44-90 is rather famous for its powerful recoil. One shooter who used a .44-90 in the early part of the twentieth century was the well-known gun writer and cartridge developer Elmer Keith. In Elmer’s typical style, he hardly ever used his rifle without loading it “to the top” with 105 grains of powder under the heavy paper patched bullets. Reading Elmer’s tales about shooting that rifle were very interesting because his was an old original that he bought complete with ammo and loading tools from an old buffalo hunter. Soon enough, I was making my own list of desired “ingredients” for a personal .44-90 rifle. First off, it would have to be a Hartford version of the 1874 Sharps rifle because the .44-90 was discontinued in 1876 when the

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The author sits behind the cross-sticks, firing at the 805-yard buffalo at Quigley. (ALLEN CUNNIFF)

Sharps Company moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut. It would have a heavy 32-inch-long barrel, complete with a Hartford collar. And, because I favor peep sights, it would have no rear dovetail in top of the barrel. The receiver group including the lockplate, trigger plate and trigger guard. The buttplate was to be pack-hardened – which is “extra” – but it adds so much to the appearance of the gun. I also asked that brass escutcheons be added to under the screws for the forearm and the lock screw on the left side of the wrist. The barrel’s only dovetail near the muzzle would be filled with a globe sight with changeable apertures plus a spirit level. I sent my order to C. Sharps Arms, and soon I was fondling my new heavy Sharps rifle. The finished gun weighs about 13.5 pounds, which is just fine for the big .44-90 Sharps. The only thing I added after I received it was a Long Range Soule rear sight. This gun is most certainly a reflection of 140

American Shooting Journal // June 2017

This five-shot group at 100 yards was fired with paper patch bullets from a Buffalo Arms mold.

the picture I had in my mind: a buffalo hunter’s rifle. GETTING AMMO FOR A .44-90 SHARPS isn’t quite as easy as it was ordering the gun. I don’t know of any source currently supplying loaded ammo for this caliber, so you must make it yourself. The components are all available; Jamison makes the brass

and several bullet molds are can cast the .446-inch diameter bullets. Because the .44-90 case is simply .375-inches longer than the .44-77 case, I had a “spacer” made which allows .44-90 ammo to be reloaded with my .44-77 loading dies. Since then, I have also got my hands on a set of RCBS .44-90 dies, but using the .44-77 dies certainly worked fine as well. 141

BLACK POWDER My favorite bullet for this caliber is the 470-grain version of Lyman’s old #446187, a mold that was discontinued several years ago. I said the 470-grain version because that mold was made in shorter lengths for bullets weighing 330 grains, 400 grains, and the largest, 470 grains. For long-range shooting the heavier bullets are the best. While I’ve tried other bullets in my rifle, including the paper-patched versions, the 470-grain bullets from the old Lyman mold seem to treat me the best. Actually, I’ve done some good shooting with all of the bullet styles but, again, the 470-grain bullet is the most consistent. The load I’ve used the very most with this rifle is fueled with 90 grains of Olde Eynsford 1 ½F powder under that 470-grain bullet. I’ve tried loads using more powder, up to 100 grains, but as yet I haven’t seen any advantage with the higher powder charge. Some loads with a smaller powder charge,


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

such as 85 or even 80 grains, has also been tried but performance falls off rather dramatically. So, my loads generally remain at 90 grains. I usually do my shooting with this rather heavy rifle from the sitting position with the rifle rested over cross-sticks. That isn’t quite as steady as when shooting from a bench, but it certainly helps keep the bullets hitting in the black. There are times, however, when the rifle must be fired from the offhand position, such as at target #6 (the bucket) at the Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match. For those offhand shots (there are eight of them at Quigley), I must use a body rest with my left upper arm braced tightly against my chest. That way you can check your heart’s pulse right through the rifle’s sights. Shooting offhand isn’t impossible at all, but as with many heavy guns, the best shooting will be accomplished from a rest.

WHILE SHOOTING OVER CROSS-STICKS, I’ve nailed the buffalo at Quigley, which is out at 805 yards, but not every time, of course. My .44-90 also got used in a 800-, 900-, and 1,000-yard match held on Rattlesnake Mountain, in eastern Washington. While I didn’t place in the overall match, I did do well enough on one of the 1,000-yard targets to have the third place score. More recently, I used my .44-90 Sharps in a short-range match where the targets are posted at 100 and 200 yards. I won the match by having the high scoring target at 100 yards and then the same score out at 200 yards. It was a tight race, however, and I won by only one point. I’ll be doing a lot more shooting with this heavy Sharps rifle, and the next Quigley match is right around the corner. If you’re there, you might hear this rifle on the firing line because I’m told it has a rather distinctive report. In fact, I’m proud of it because it is a


These two loadings were used at Quigley and the longer bullet, the one on top, weighs 515 grains.

rather distinctive rifle. Remember how I wanted a rifle that looked like a real buffalo hunter’s gun? Well, during that 1,000-yard match I

mentioned above, I overheard a pair of gentlemen who were walking behind the shooting line just looking at the rifles. When they came fairly close

to where I was – when my .44-90 was cradled in my line-box – I heard one of them say to the other, “Now that looks like a real one.” 







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RE loading The Mossberg Patriot in 7mm mag is a good low dollar rifle, and with the Hawke scope it is a winning combo. The 7mm Magnum responds well to the slower burning Enduron powders.

ENDURING ENDURON LOADS, PART II The author continues his expanded series of tests using four of Hodgdon’s Enduron powders in a wide variety of loads, from popular to non-traditional. STORY AND PHOTOS BY BOB SHELL


his project using Hodgdon’s Enduron powders began in the March issue, and as I’ve been able to complete a good deal more testing since then, I’ll be passing the results along to you for the next couple of months. Although there have been several new powders introduced that burn much cleaner than previous powder products, in several of my tests I found that the Enduron powders are superior to many of them. For those who reload mil surplus rifles, especially using the loads tested here, I suggest you try these powders out. Copper fouling has long been a problem with jacketed bullets and some rifles. Many manufacturers have various proprietary chemicals in their powders to reduce the copper fouling, which reduces the time needed to clean the gun, and for the most part they work. Temperature sensitivity can also be an issue in some situations. If you develop a load at a 40-degree temperature and hunt in an area where the temps may go up to 90, that could lead to a problem. With most situations it isn’t a serious problem, but it has been recommended in the past to

develop your loads at the temperatures that are expected during the hunt. That is the reason that the older British rounds are so large but don’t give any more power than a smaller, more modern round. Cordite powder was very heat-sensitive, therefore the rounds are large and loaded to mild

pressures. The new Enduron powders and others resolve that issue. I have done a very large amount of testing with these four powders (Enduron 4451, 7977, 4166 and 4955) and there are a few things that I am looking for. With the modern guns, such as a 7mm mag, velocity and accuracy are the criteria





60 grains 4451

90-grain Sierra



60 grains 7977

130-grain Speer



56 grains 4451

130-grain Speer



59 grains 7977

140-grain Nosler



58 grains 7977

150-grain Hornady


nice load

60 grains 7977

150-grain Hornady


very consistent





45 grains 4166

100-grain Sierra HP


good load

41 grains 4166

120-grain Hornady Flex



45 grains 4451

140-grain Sierra BT



46 grains 4451

154-grain Hornady



44 grains 4451

162-grain Hornady


good load

44 grains 4451

162-grain Hornady*



45 grains 4451

162-grain Hornady



43 grains 4451

175-grain Hornady


nice load

THE 7MM-078

* Bullet mounted backwards 147

RELOADING I am looking at. With a modern gun it doesn’t make sense to use a powder that does not give you the accuracy and power needed. You may be going after a large or dangerous animal, and using inferior products just doesn’t make sense. Clean burning and copper fouling reduction are also desirable features. With loads for military rifles, I am looking for good ballistics, meaning military velocities at safe pressures. Although I am not attempting to increase velocity, it does happen, and if it is the safe range there is no problem. As with my previous tests with Enduron, I did not do a lot of work with modern guns (for example, you’ll see loads for several different Mauser calibers here and next month), as that info is available at other sources and there are only so many hours in a day. THE .270 HAS BEEN AROUND a long time and is used by many hunters. The rifle used is a Remington 721. This is another round that has benefited from improved bullets and powders. These Enduron powders show a great deal of promise in this round. There is a good selection of bullet styles and weights. Since there is plenty of info on the 270 and other modern rifles, load development is limited. THE 7MM-078 is a versatile round well worth having. I purposely left some of the loads sit in the sun until they got so hot it was hard to load them. I wanted to see if there were any spikes in the loads and none were evident, so the claim that it isn’t heat-sensitive has some merit. I did that with some of the 30-06 loads also. Like any other rifle, loads should be approached from below and carefully worked up. Each rifle is unique and so are the loads. THE 7X57 MAUSER is a great round with a strong gun and modern loads. Keep in mind that there are some older rifles out there that should avoid max loads. The model 93 and the rolling block, for example, are good guns that should not be used with max loads. The gun 148

American Shooting Journal // June 2017





47 grains 4166

120-grain Sierra


max consistent

45 grains 4166

139-grain Hornady


nice load

49 grains 4451

154-grain Hornady



47 grains 4955

160-grain Sierra


nice but max

46 grains 4955

175-grain Hornady


very consistent max

49 grains 4955

175-grain Hornady


too hot!





68.5 grains 4451

100-grain Sierra HP



65 grains 4451

120-grain Hornady



71 grains 7977

140-grain Privi



71 grains 7977

145-grain Speer



71 grains 7977

154-grain Hornady



67 grains 7977

174-grain Privi



67 grains 7977

175-grain Hornady



68 grains 7977

175-grain Hornady







38 grains 4166

122-grain milt


high ES

39 grains 4166

122-grain milt


more consistent

36 grains 4166

150-grain Speer RN


high ES

37 grains 4166

150-grain Speer RN


better then 36





35 grains 4166

125-grain Sierra



33 grains 4166

150-grain Hornady RN



32 grains 4166

160-grain flex tip


decent load

31 grains 4166

170-grain Speer



32 grains 4166

170-grain Speer


nice load

31 grains 4166

180-grain Hornady RN



32 grains 4166

180-grain Hornady RN


nice load


THE 30-30

The tried and true 30-30 was used with 4166 and worked well, giving factory ballistics and good accuracy.







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RELOADING used in this test is a model 98 that was rebarreled so heavy loads may be used. With top loads it is capable of a lot of large game hunting, and with the great selection of bullets, that is enhanced. These loads should not be exceeded and in a weaker gun, such as a 93, should be cut down by at least 2 to 3 grains. The 175-grain load was way too hot and blew one primer and the rest show definite signs of excess pressure. As odd as it might seem, the load had outstanding consistency, with an ES of 43 and an SD of 16, which is really consistent. Going through my records, I’ve found that loads that may be too warm to use have a good ES and SD, though not always. The barrel on the test gun is 26 inches long, which definitely adds to the velocity and should be factored in when determining how good the load is. I put loads that I consider too hot but included them for info purposes. Do not use loads that are listed as warm or hot, and since the author or magazine has no control on how this data is used, we cannot be held responsible for any mishaps. THE 7MM REMINGTON MAG tests tried out two of these powders. The 7mm Remington mag that came out in 1962 is the most popular belted case. There are a couple of reasons for that. Especially with the new and improved bullets, it can handle almost any hunting situation. Recoil isn’t excessive, while accuracy is very good with most loads. Components are readily available, which is another plus with this round. At a later date

The 30-40 Krag was the U.S. military rifle for a few years. The action is unique, so this shows a closeup of it with the ammo. It has only one locking lug, so caution has to be used when working up loads.


American Shooting Journal // June 2017





46 grains 4451

180-grain Sierra RN


very consistent

46 grains 4451

180-grain Sierra BT BKS* 2356


46 grains 4451

180-grain Sierra BT

high ES


48 grains 4955

180-grain Sierra RN


very consistent

44 grains 4451

200-grain Speer



42 grains 4451

220-grain Sierra RN


mild high ES

45 grains 4955

220-grain Sierra RN



*The 180 grain Sierra BT soft point loaded backwards was much more consistent then loaded normally. I have found that in a couple of other instances. I don’t have an explanation for that.





46 grains 4166

150-grain Sierra*



41 grains 4166

150-grain Privi

2519 Garand


41 grains 4166

150-grain Privi

2508 LAR 8


41 grains 4166

150-grain Privi

2479 FAL


42.5 grains 4166

150-grain Privi FMJ


Rock River LAR-8

42.5 grains 4166

150-grain Privi FMJ


M1-A Springfield

44 grains 4166

165-grain Hornady*



43 grains 4166

180-grain Sierra



42 grains 4166

180-grain Remington*


high ES

41 grains 4166

200-grain Speer




*Bolt-action rifle loads

THE 30-06 LOAD



48 grains 4166

150-grain FMJ


Garand 18-inch

48 grains 4166

150-grain FMJ


Garand 24-inch

48 grains 4166

150-grain FMJ



49 grains 4166

150-grain FMJ



50 grains 4166

150-grain Sierra


very warm

51 grains 4166

150-grain Sierra



57 grains 4451

165-grain Hornady


nice load

57 grains 4451

165-grain Hornady*


consistent M-12

56 grains 4451

180-grain Hornady



56 grains 4451

180-grain Sierra


very consistent

56 grains 4451

180-grain Hornady*



56 grains 4451

180-grain Sierra*


Very warm!

64.5 grains 7977

180-grain Remington


not what I expected

55 grains 4451

200-grain Speer


good load

55 grains 4451

200-grain Speer*


nice max

61 grains 7977

220-grain Sierra


high ES

54 grains 4955

220-grain Sierra



57 grains 4955

220-grain Sierra


still too hot

61 grains 4955

220-grain Sierra


way too hot

* Indicates a test with the same load as directly above but using a different rifle.

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RELOADING as time permits, I plan on some more work with this round as I feel that more performance can be realized. In addition, there is published data on this round. THE 7.35 CARCANO was brought out in 1939 by Italy, but due to WWII breaking out, the company went back to the 6.5 and sold most of the 7.35 rifles to Norway. It takes an odd diameter bullet;

the .298 and the 4166 usually seem to work well in it. The Carcano is not a real strong rifle, so do not exceed these loads. THE 30-30 HAS BEEN AROUND for quite some time, and no test would be complete without it. So we used four different bullet weights with 4166. The 4166 is definitely a viable powder in this chambering. It is the fastest burning

powder of the set, and along with the relatively small case, they make a perfect match. Note the difference in velocity that a one-grain increase produces. That is why when working with a new powder it is prudent to be cautious. THE 30-40 KRAG was introduced in 1893, and continues to be used for hunting and target shooting. Since it has limited strength, caution is advised when working with the top loads. A long barrel (28 inches) was used for these tests. THE .308 DATES BACK TO 1950, and we used three different semi-auto rifles to test these loads. Each rifle was consistent with that load, though they were near max. I also have a Ruger model 77, which should enable us to get the most out of the .308. THE 30-06 IS THE MOST VERSATILE round in existence, so there will be a lot of info, as all four of the powders will work for something though may not be the ideal powder, such as the 7977. The slowest is 7977, which will be suitable for various large magnums. I am trying one load in the 30-06, but I suspect that it will be too slow to produce max velocities with a 220-grain load. It would indicate that this powder is a bit slow in the 30-06, even with a heavy bullet. If you can use a drop tube to add a couple more grains that might help, but it would be a timeconsuming effort. The Garand load is close to what I want. For the Garand I used military brass. The ES was somewhat high in the Garand rifles but a little tweaking of the charge will resolve that. They fed and cycled perfectly and no signs of excess pressure. With the 165-, 180-, and 200-grain loads, I used commercial brass, but it was various brands “once fired,” and I didn’t sort it out. I just made sure they weren’t too long. The loads are very promising, as the velocities are really good and they are consistent. I didn’t see any signs of excess pressure and they extracted perfectly. I will test them in other rifles to verify the results. I ran a second test with the 165-, 180-, and 200-grain bullets in a


American Shooting Journal // June 2017


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AMMO/RELOADING different rifle but with the same brass to check for pressure signs, and noted those on the chart as well. The second rifle was a Springfield 1903 with a 24-inch barrel. The results are similar to the first test and some loads show signs of pressure and these loads should be approached with extreme caution. Start from 2 to 3 grains below and carefully work up. I did not have any problems with sticky extraction with any of the loads but in other rifles that may very well occur. I did not look at any data before I started this project with the thought that it would help me get a good idea on how these powders perform. Afterwards, I checked some tables and my results were close to the book loads. So in some instances these powders will produce a little extra velocity. Notes: The 4955 will probably be more suitable for the 220 and heavier bullets than the 7977. The 61-grain load is much too hot, and under no circumstances should be used. The primers were blown out and there are prominent ejector marks on the cases. The 54-grain load with the 220 is absolutely the max that should be used. It shows very slight pressure loads in the Blaser rifle I used, so I would drop down a grain or so in another rifle. Anything at 2500 or greater is definitely on the high side for a 220-grain bullet. With the 4955 and the 220-grain bullet, I would strongly recommend starting at 51 to 52 grains. As always, each rifle will react differently to the same load. Next month, I will be back with more test data using Hodgdon’s Enduron powders (including some for the 7.7 Japanese Arisaka, the .303 British, and multiple Mauser calibers, among many others), and later on, I will be testing some of the old straight case rifles such as the various .45 calibers from the 45-70 to the 45-120 and other various rounds. These Enduron powders are very flexible and work very well in many calibers tried. I highly recommend that any reloader looking for improvements in their ammo give these powders a try. You won’t be disappointed.  155



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Since landing on our shores, Lantac USA has enjoyed success manufacturing AR products. Today, they continue to innovate deep in the heart of Texas. STORY BY CRAIG HODGKINS. PHOTOS BY LANTAC


ome companies are born in the U.S., and others become naturalized. Lantac is one of the latter. The manufacturer of the popular Dragon muzzle brake, bolt carrier groups (currently for .223/5.56 and .308/7.62 calibers) and the new LAN15 Raven rifle, among many other products, began in the U.K. eight years ago, but relocated to the U.S. about four years later. Originally, their business office was in southern California (specifically, San Diego) and their manufacturing facility was in Nevada, but a couple of years ago, both operations were consolidated to Burleson, Texas, a small town about 40 miles from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. We recently had an opportunity to chat with Lantac’s Brett Stewart, who shared some of the details about the company and even more about its plans for the future. “A lot of people think of Lantac as a British company,” he said, “but everything that we’re doing here in the U.S. is U.S.-sourced and U.S.-made with U.S.-certified materials. (The products) may be designed by Brits, but we like to think of ourselves as newfound Texans. “We’re very grateful for the support we’ve had from a lot of companies. This industry is the ‘biggest smallest’ industry in the world, and everyone seems to be family.” LANTAC FOCUSES ITS ATTENTION on building products for the AR platform, an area the company believes

deserves more design innovation than it has received until recently. “When (Eugene) Stoner brought the AR platform to fruition,” he said, “he was probably 50 years ahead of his time with the design and concept. (But) we feel that … the rifle has not really received that much attention (since then), so we’re looking at it to see how we can improve it and bring it on. We’re here changing (things) and getting patents granted on the platform. We’re going to go full force. We filed another 13 patents last week, and we had 26 on file before that, so we’re up to 39 patents filed. We’ve already got 10 patents granted for a multitude of things.” But despite the undivided focus on the AR platform, Lantac chose to bide

Lantac’s Raven Intermediate Rifle

its time before creating a rifle of its own. “Our business decision and mentality was purely selfish,” Stewart said. “We were not going to mess up and waste a lot of time trying to introduce a complete rifle into a saturated market. (There was a time) here in the U.S. where everybody bought anything that resembled an AR. What we want to do is build something, design something and release something that everybody’s going to want to put on all those rifles that you bought. That’s how the Dragon muzzle brake came about.” Although Lantac may have always intended for their business plan to follow, as Stewart puts it, the ‘crawl, walk, run’ method,’ the marketplace sometimes dictates otherwise; at least it did with the introduction of the Dragon muzzle brake. “We’re trying to keep busy, and we’re trying to grow slowly. (But) when we first released those muzzle brakes,” Stewart said, “I figured ‘if we sell a hundred the first month, that’s great. I’ll have 250 made so I’ll have a hundred for that month and 150 for 159


Lantac also has become known for the performance of their enhanced bolt carrier groups.

the second month while the others are being made, and we’ll grow it slowly.’ Out of the gate, we sold 1,250 in the first month, and it’s just been ridiculous since. We now produce 4,000 a month on our machines in house. In under three years, it’s become the number one selling performance muzzle brake in the U.S. It sold, like, 70,000 units.” “If you change your business model to the trends in the market,” he added, “that’s when it becomes risky. Right now, the market is saturated with overstocked products because everybody anticipated the election

going differently. We just keep doing what we’re doing every single month.” What Lantac does every single month includes several projects and partnerships that can’t be written about… yet. But Stewart was able to speak on the record about their recent success with the Raven rifle and the company’s enhanced bolt carrier groups. “We’ve had some pretty spectacular testimonials from Proof Research saying that our bolt that they tested gains an extra 25 percent in accuracy in their rifle,” he said. “That’s unheard of. For one, we are honored that they’ve

tested our stuff, and number two, (that) they’ve invested the time to do significant testing and (to) quantify. That’s the main thing that people are looking for. (The people at Proof) really are good at quantifying. They’re aerospace scientists, so there’s no pulling the wool over those guys.” WATCH FUTURE ISSUES OF THIS magazine for more upcoming news about Lantac product releases as the information becomes available to the public. We think you’ll agree that everything will be worth the wait. 


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

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The Velocity AR Platform Trigger A high quality AR platform trigger (compatible with .22, .223/5.56mm, .30 cal) at an affordable price of only $150 Simply stated, The Velocity Trigger makes your AR feel like a bolt action rifle.

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American Shooting Journal // June 2017 163


American Shooting Journal // June 2017



Guntec USA manufactures tactical parts and accessories

Guntec offers more than 1,000 parts and accessories.


Guntec’s Scottsdale, Arizona, headquarters.


rom its home base in Scottsdale, Arizona, Guntec USA has been designing, manufacturing and distributing tactical firearm parts and accessories for nearly three decades, with several police departments and branches of the U.S. military as clients. Guntec strives to make quality products at an economical price, intended for the professional and average shooter alike. And, with well over 1,000 parts and accessories already on the market, the company launches new creations and innovations every month. Philippe Kent, whose father Charles started the business in 1989, spoke briefly with us about the company’s beginnings and robust growth.

American Shooting Journal: Did Guntec start out manufacturing handguards?

Philippe Kent: We are one of the original companies that built picatinny rails into handguards. Back in the day, we made rails that bolted into the original polymer handguards. ASJ: Have you always manufactured AR parts? PK: We originally made parts for the AR-15, Ruger Mini-14, AK-47, SKs, and various other rifles. ASJ: When did you start offering different colored handguards? I see that you have them for .308 now. PK: We started offering cerakote handguards about 3 years ago.

We do them both in .223 and .308 versions. We have about 13 color options now – nine cerakote colors and four anodized colors. ASJ: Do you manufacture most of the parts you sell? PK: We manufacture about 95 percent of all the items we sell. We outsource only plastics and polymer parts. ASJ: Where do you see Guntec as part of this industry in the future? PK: We manufacture over 1,200 items currently and we strive to stay a few steps ahead of our competition in quality and innovation.  165


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Huber Concepts began with a “one-off” trigger for the founder’s classic Mauser, which ended up filling a needed niche for shooters seeking a better performing product. STORY BY CRAIG HODGKINS. PHOTOS BY HUBER CONCEPTS


ohn Huber was an avid collector of curio and relic firearms, but he had a problem. He loved the look and feel of his classic Mauser rifle, but he hated to shoot it because of something he refers to as “that darn trigger.” So, like other “can-do” creators throughout the decades, while seeking a solution to a personal dilemma, he ended up starting a company – Huber Concepts (HC) – providing products for men and women who also wanted to bring some fun back to the performance of their classic firearms. “He loved that gun,” Huber’s business partner and childhood friend Diz Disbro (Huber grew up a couple blocks from Disbro’s grandmother’s house) told me at a recent trade show, “but he did not like to shoot it. And so he set out to find a way to make it more fun to shoot, and that was the birth of the Huber ball trigger.” That was nearly twenty years ago. Huber’s original trigger was created with both the collector and the shooter in mind, and each successive HC innovation has kept that same audience at the forefront. Today, the company’s black Teflon model continues to provide match grade performance while maintaining the original military profile of a rifle. Their stainless steel and ultralight models also provide excellent performance while adding a distinctive custom look via a patented design. HUBER’S FIRST PRODUCTION “RUN” was two; one trigger each for the business partners’ personal rifles. However,

after months of “what do you have there” questions at their local range followed by a steady slew of “me to” requests, the two decided to pursue a series of initial patents for the trigger, and soon began to purchase machines and castings to replace their “hand file and a piece of steel” production process. Over the next decade, Disbro shared that the two developed triggers for “twelve distinct WWI- and WWII-era bolt rifles, with significant variations among them.” For example, some guns allowed the use of a two-stage trigger, while others permitted single-stage only. Still others allowed adjustability of the same trigger for multiple rifles. As the requests continued, the two eventually turned their attention seven years ago to producing triggers of similar quality for modern bolt guns. “We hadn’t thought about it,” laughed Disbro. “We were having fun with the milsurps (military surplus, for the uninitiated). So we gave it some significant thought, and came up with the Remington 700. It was a natural fit, there were a lot of Remington 700s out there, and we all know they’ve had their trigger issues through the years.” Out of this process came their two-stage trigger for this popular rifle platform, although Disbro – and many others in and around the industry – sees it as much more than a standard aftermarket replacement. “It uses rotations,” he explained. “If you think about a quarterback throwing the ball to a receiver, at the last second – when the fingertips are on the ball – is when all the zip, the spin, the direction, the speed…everything happens. That’s

Each trigger from Huber Concepts is built to order.

In addition to their Remington 700 single- and 2-stage offerings, Huber Concepts continues to make triggers for the following milsurp rifles: 30/40 Krag-Jorgensen Arisaka Enfield Husqvarna HVA K 31 Schmidt Rubin Swiss Lee Enfield MAS 36 Mauser 1891 Argentine Mauser Mosin Nagant Springfield 1903 Vulcan SS50 MSRP for these triggers is $97 to $117 167

company SPOTLIGHT what happens inside the trigger. We’ve come up with a model, and we stand behind it; ‘better shot timing, guaranteed.’ In our industry, everyone [that shoots] is dealing in degrees of being late on their shots. The crosshairs are only on the target so long.â€? The trigger uses what the company calls “anti-friction ball technology,â€? which involves some pretty advanced mathematics, but boils down to a highly improved tactile sensation during the trigger pull. Scores of people who have tested the trigger on the range and in the ďŹ eld have said the same thing; that you can feel the exact break moment every single time you pull the trigger. In short, shooters really need to get their index ďŹ ngers on one to fully appreciate what Huber has created, even if only for a dry ďŹ re test. “Our whole thing is that you don’t have to have a hair trigger,â€? added Disbro. “You can have control on the trigger, you can have it where you don’t

have to have anticipation of when the shot’s going to go. It’s going to ďŹ re when you are on the target, and not late.â€? Disbro insists that their Remington 700 Huber trigger can help everyone, from the top shooters in the world to the weekend range shooter trying to get more shots in the black. It also is a great advantage in hunting applications for those hoping to tighten their groups, or those looking for a more ethical shot. “Long range hunting is in vogue now,â€? said Disbro. “We can take people whose proďŹ ciency is at, let’s say, ďŹ ve hundred yards. And now they can be proďŹ cient at six hundred yards without doing anything else because their shot timing has improved dramatically.â€? Huber triggers have now been on the market long enough to have become popular in the aftermarket world. Although each Huber trigger is built to order and is shipped out with a chart, Disbro said that it hasn’t

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American Shooting Journal // June 2017

stopped people from seeking them out from other sources. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have people who call us up and say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I bought a [used] riďŹ&#x201A;e because it had your trigger in it, and I wanted the trigger. Tell me what I got.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; And we can tell them exactly what they have. Or sometimes they say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to send it in so you can check it over, and we can, because the charts match out identically.â&#x20AC;? JUST WHEN DISBRO WAS GETTING used to being in the trigger business, Huber told him, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got an idea for a muzzle brake.â&#x20AC;? The resulting product is called the Huber Square Brake, and although Huber is in the early stages of the marketing for it, it has already enjoyed some success alongside the trigger family via satisďŹ ed customers and word of mouth. According to company literature, the brake works by shearing air into vortices to the side as equal and opposite. This prevents pressure ridges within the conďŹ nes of the brake adjacent to the bullet over a longer period of time to completely redirect the high-speed gas column. The brake moderates energies to minimize lateral and radial motions of the gun (lessening the negative effects on sight picture and sight alignment) and recoil in the shot sequence lasting 5-10 milliseconds. This enhanced stabilization also reduces target reacquire time for subsequent shots in semi-auto mode. One ďŹ nal product that deserves mention is also the result of customer requests; an AR trigger design that is in the works. But, if history were a good indicator, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d bet that John Huberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newest design would ďŹ nd a market and create many more satisďŹ ed customers. MSRP for both versions of the Remington 700 trigger (the single-stage and the 2-stage) is $295 to $320. Â? For more information, visit, send an email to, or call (920) 921-9641.



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American Shooting Journal // June 2017




Dead Foot Arms now offers a game changing folding stock adaptor known as the Modified Cycle System (MCS) INTERVIEW BY THE EDITORS. PHOTOS BY DEAD FOOT ARMS


irearms manufacturers are constantly churning out new parts and accessories so shooters can upgrade the AR-15 experience, but Dead Foot Arms has come up with something they believe is a true game-changer. Their Modified Cycle System (MCS) is the first and only drop-in folding stock adaptor for the AR-15 platform that allows the gun to fire whether the stock is deployed or folded. The American Shooting Journal recently had a conversation with Russ Simonis, COO of the veteran-owned and -operated company, to find out more about this and other Dead Foot Arms products. AMERICAN SHOOTING JOURNAL: I understand that your folding stock has become quite a success. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea? RUSS SIMONIS: The idea really started to manifest in 2009 when Ted

The stock’s folding capability has proven to be a great success among AR fans.

(Schumacher, Dead Foot Arms’ CEO and founder) was in Iraq. The M4 Carbine is simply too long to efficiently operate in most tactical vehicles. We wanted to find a way to reduce the overall length of the weapon without significant reductions in barrel length, but still keep the weapon operational in the folded configuration. In 2010, Ted met the rest of the current team members, including me, when he joined our unit in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He told us about the idea, and we worked together for over five years through testing and prototyping the system until we were ready to release it to the public at Shot Show 2016. ASJ: How is it different from any others on the market today? RS: The first question we get asked when someone sees our product the first time is, “Can it fire with the stock folded?” It certainly can. What makes the Modified Cycle System unique is that it’s the only drop-in/retrofit folding stock system for the AR-15 that gives you that capability. There are a couple of other folder systems out there, but either they disable the weapon in the folded position or they require a proprietary upper receiver. When you install our system, you won’t need to re-zero and you’ll find it much easier to install than most types of PDW style stocks, taking about 5 to 7 minutes. What also makes the MCS different than its competitors is we sell the system in a wide variety

With the new Modified Cycle System from Dead Foot arms, you can fire your AR-15 whether the stock is deployed or folded.

of configurations. Many of our customers purchase the system without the folding stock adaptor, and just run our 2.5-inch receiver extension on the back of their lower. We call this our MCS AR-Pistol kit and it’s been a really attractive option for our customers looking to run something super short. We also offer the MCS in a left side folding configuration, ideal for left side folding shooters. ASJ: Has it been a challenge to keep up with the demand of your stock? RS: Increasingly so, yes. Items will go out of stock from time to time but we always have more getting cut, so just check back on the website ( periodically if you’re waiting for something to come available. We also run a pretty robust Law Enforcement Testing and Evaluation Program so we have stock rotating and moving through that route, as well. It’s been very exciting for us to see the amazing customer response we’ve received and the friends of friends who purchased our products after seeing it on their buddies’ guns. Needless to say, our customers are keeping us super busy and we love them for that. ASJ: As a young business finding success, what has been the hardest thing to overcome? RS: The firearms industry can be 171

company SPOTLIGHT no better marketing strategy than putting your products in customers’ hands and proving that it works, and that is exactly what we are finding is our most successful marketing tool. If you’re planning on launching a new product in this industry, and expect to sell them, you need to dedicate yourself to a daily social media grind after you shut the machines down for the day. You could invent a spaceship to Mars, but without social media presence, you will be overlooked and never found.

The Dead Foot Arms team at a recent trade show.

pretty ruthless to the new company who’s trying to make their mark. We knew we had a product that a lot of people in the industry were looking for. When you’re starting out from scratch, it can be quite a challenge


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

to get the attention of your audience because they’ve never heard of you. That’s just human nature. There’s a lot of ideas out there, so as a new company you have to find a way to make your product stand out. There’s

ASJ: Where do you see your company going from here? RS: It’s early, but hopefully we can see our business continue to grow in several different ways. Our focus is to put quality USA-made tactical products in the hands of our customers who desire them, whether they be DoD, law enforcement or sporting shooters. We definitely have 173

Company SPOTLIGHT big plans beyond the MCS, but that will remain our primary focus in the near term. Long term, sky is the limit. Like many entrepreneurs, we’ve got about 250 ideas brewing that we swear we will put on the market one day. I am optimistic we will get a few of those released in the very near future. ASJ: Do you have any new products coming out that you can tell us about? RS: We are currently working on a new MCS PDW style stock that will hit the market later in 2017 or early 2018, along with another minimalist stock system for standard buffer AR15 systems. We’re very excited about both of those products and we’ve already invested significant time in the development of both of them. In April, we launched our new weapon customization program, DFA Custom. We teamed up with an outstanding cerakote applicator here in Wisconsin, our friend Josh


American Shooting Journal // June 2017

The Modified Cycle System folding stock adaptor installs easily on most types of PDW style stocks.

DuMond, who has done hundreds of weapons over the past few years, to provide our custom coating service and the response has been great thus far. Our prices are tough to beat and Josh is coating everything – pistols,

rifles, shotguns, or you can now custom order your MCS system in the cerakote color of your choice. For more information on Dead Foot Arms and their products, visit  175

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